How Do White-Tailed Deer Change Ecosystems, Anyway?

Credit:  Robert Woeger ,  Unsplash Some facts about deer  An adult white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus , that might weigh between 100 and 150 pounds, must eat about 8-12 pounds of fresh forage every day. They eat a wide range of plants, from flowers to shrubs, to tree saplings, and in oak woodlands, acorns. All of these plants share the characteristic of a certain softness: deer lack upper front teeth, so their browsing involves a sort of mashing and tearing unlike the cutting and biting employed by many other herbivores, large and small, from rabbits to cows. It’s easy to identify deer-browsed areas, once you know the signs. Often there are browse lines at about four feet, below which everything looks as though it’s been trimmed—mature trees and bushes lack lower limbs and leaves, saplings remain stunted, if not eaten to the ground, and flowering plants have lost buds and flowers. In addition, there might be few flowering plants or shrubs, and a preponderance of grasses, sedges

Spring Firsts

I love the first occurrences that welcome in a new season. Here are some for this spring:
Saturday I saw my first bumblebee emerge from under some fallen leaves, totter about, and then fly off at speed. Bumblebee (Bombus ssp.) queens over winter in underground burrows and emerge at this time to search for a good place to lay eggs and rear young. Maybe it was a spring first for her too.

Yesterday, I planted some leaf lettuce in a big pot and then put wire mesh weighed down with half a brick on top to keep the hungry birdies out. It was one of those days on which you could look at a tree in the morning and when you looked again an hour later the leaves were visibly larger. In the afternoon several family members and I sat out on the front porch for the first time and watched the first real thunderstorm of the season blow in from the south. Good cracking thunder and netted lightning, and later on, steady rain, to which comfortable drumming I fell asleep.

Related Posts:
Sandhill Cranes and Spring Resolutions
Happy Spring!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Dear Adrian, I feel quite inspired with the idea of growing lettuce in a container and intend to discuss the matter with J, my gardener/handyman, at the first possible opportunity. A brilliant idea, and a space saving one too.

I love the sound of heavy rain falling, always believing that it is doing good.
Hi Edith, I find that the bunnies then don't eat my lettuce--and it looks pretty, too. (After it germinates I take the wire mesh off.)
RURAL said…
Adrian, I must remember to get out there and plant my lettuce. I plant in containers also, and they definitely save space.

It's a magical day when the bumble bees first come out, and the leaves almost visibly change in front of us. Those are some of the great reasons we garden.

Jen