How to Lawn-Mower-Proof, Kid-Proof, Deer-Proof Your Trees

Friday, November 30, 2007

I have never planted trees this late in the year. I don't ever want to do it again, either. It is freezing outside today! But I got my bareroot trees in the mail a few days ago, and I could procrastinate no longer. I've come up with a pretty good solution for protecting these tiny little trees from all their enemies (lawn mowers, deer, rabbits, trampling feet, and soccer players). Come with me into my workshop and I'll show you how.

This is my workshop-- my garage. A bit messy, but it's large enough to do the job. :)

Garage floor

It's an attached garage, and it used to be the kitchen, originally. Sometime in the 70's, the previous owners ripped out partition walls and the flooring, and laid concrete. The concrete floor is still in pretty good condition, although it's very ugly and needs some attention.

My ceiling needs help, too. Look, original tin ceiling with the egg and dart moulding! It's a disaster because of all the roof leaks over the years. I don't think it's restorable? Imagine having such a fancy tin ceiling in your kitchen!

Egg Dart

OK... so all you'll need for this project is a shovel, a sledge hammer, some stakes, a 2-3' section of PVC pipe, and your trees. This is a temporary fix for your young trees. As the trees get older and taller, you'll have to remove the PVC pipe so the roots and trunk can grow. But this is a great method for the first year or two.

I took my shovel and heeled it in the soil, going as deep as the shovel blade.


I took my little tree and tucked it in the open wedge of soil.

Tree in Hole

I then stomped all around the tree, to pack the soil in and remove any air pockets. Now comes the hard part... hammering in the PVC pipe.

I used old pieces of pipe that we had around (17-inch sections). If I had my druthers, I'd have used longer pieces, and would cut a 45-degree angle on one edge to make hammering easier. As it was, I got the pipe in, but it was hard work.

PVC Pipe

Now get your stakes (they don't have to be terribly tall) and hammer them in so it looks like this:


This should protect your little tree from trampling feet, lawn mowers, and rabbits. To keep the deer from chomping down your tree (like they always do here), encircle the tree with some chicken wire stapled to the stakes. It won't require a lot of effort. I'm going to have the kids do this later today (which explains why I don't have a photo of the wire around the stakes yet).

I got eight trees planted this morning. I think almost all of my autumn jobs are done!

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