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

I've Been Away

What have I been doing? What gardeners do in June: working outside, away from all things electronic.

At my college, the native plants we propagated this winter and spring had to go in the prairie garden. At home the bee balm overwhelmed the hybrid day lilies and had to be restrained; a thunderstorm demolished the peony blooms, which then needed cutting back; the window boxes needed planting; bees and butterflies needed watching and identifying; and the serviceberries got ripe enough that I had to pick some ahead of the birds (hard to do) in order to clean and plant the seeds. They apparently need warm and cold moist stratification. Hopefully they'll germinate next spring.  It's a long time to wait, and germination is only about 50%, but thus gardeners demonstrate faith in the future.
Photo from "How to Identify Serviceberries in the Wild."

Comments

Benjamin Vogt said…
My servieberries were ripe for about 6 hours--I have the pics to prove it--then they were gone. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM! I guess that's good. Wonder how long the viburnum berries will last.

I saw my first oriole today ever. I'd like to think as a direct result of my maturing garden. Is that hubris?
My viburnum got stripped before the berries were ripe. I think the oriole found a good place at your house.