Date of this Version
Protecting individual plants or small clumps of plants with some type of protective material or device represents a positive nonlethal approach to damage prevention that is often much less expensive than fencing an entire garden or crop or netting over the entire area to prevent damage by such species as deer (Odocoileus spp.), rabbits (Lepus spp., Sylvilagus spp.), and ground squirrels (Spermophilus spp.). This review article does not include fencing or the netting or screening of entire crops, which are subjects unto themselves. Tree trunk guards or protectors include commercial tree wraps and other materials affixed directly to young tree trunks, wire cylinders for individual trees, and plastic-mesh tubing. The use of soil mounding or a layer of coarse gravel around the base of a tree is helpful against damage from meadow voles (Microtus spp.). Damage from pocket gophers (Thomomys spp., Geomys spp.), can be alleviated by planting in wire-mesh cylinders or baskets, although generally too expensive and impractical to be used for large commercial plantings. Tree bands and shields are particularly useful against ground and tree squirrels (Sciurus spp.) and certain other climbing mammals. For seeds and very young seedlings, domes, caps, and cones offer good protection during their vulnerable period. Where other materials are scarce, the use of prickly or thorny plant materials, such as holly or hawthorn branches, can provide protection to newly planted seed and young seedlings. This paper reviews these methods and provides references for those seeking further information.