Our hunting property contains an abundance of apple and crabapple trees. Over the past few years they have been growing larger and larger and producing fewer apples. We have also seen a dramatic increase in the growth of pricker bushes and briars. What is the best thing to do to allow the apples to grow? Do deer like the prickers? If not, is there a way to control them?
Almost all apple trees should be pruned annually (during the dormant season). They should be pruned significantly – enough that most folks squirm! The specifics of how and how much to prune is very detailed. The QDMA web site has some great articles about maintaining fruit trees.
Fruit trees are a crop, and benefit from being fertilized. The blend and amount of fertilizer depends on the local soils and types of trees.
As I work throughout the whitetails’ range, I realize that different species of plants are often referred to by the same name. So “prickers” could mean blackberries, hawthorns, multi-flora roses, hedge trees, etc. However, in general deer may consume “prickers” during some portion of the year. This is usually when the plants are young or have fresh growth during the early spring. The species you are referring to may be consumed by deer, but will not be enough to provide a high quality diet by itself.
Growing Deer together,