Greg G. Sweetland1
(Partner: New Brunswick Apple Marketing Board)
Abstract: A diversionary fence was constructed in December of 1998, to test and demonstrate the efficacy of diversionary fencing in an apple orchard with a history of serious deer damage. Due to unfavorable working conditions, construction of the fence was not completed for the 1998-1999 winter season. As a result, deer were able to penetrate gaps in the structure and continue to cause serious damage to trees. In the spring of 1999, 15 trees were randomly selected and rated for deer damage (D) from three orchard blocks, with the west, center and east blocks showing average deer damage ratings of D=6.2, D=3.6, D=7.0, respectfully. Final construction of the fence was completed in the fall of 1999. In the spring of 2000, 15 trees were randomly selected and rated for deer damage (D) from three orchard blocks, with the west, center and east blocks showing average deer damage ratings of D=0, D=1 and D=1, respectively. Further observations indicated that signs of deer activity were minimal inside the perimeter of the fence. However, signs of deer activity were observed along the outside perimeter of the fence, indicating that the fence prevented deer from entering into the orchard and feeding on apple trees. Observations should be taken in subsequent years to address variations in snow cover from season to season.
1Potato and Horticulture Branch, NBDARD, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1