This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
In the wilds of northern Scotland the roebucks do considerable damage by nibbling and browsing on buds and young shoots of forest-trees, practically precluding seedlings from making their progressive growth and maintaining their leaders intact, so that would-be timber in due course is mere scrub, and small saplings being used as fraying-stocks, there is much hampering of the forester in his efforts to cultivate timber trees.
Fig. 124. - Paper-protected Conifer.
Roe-deer must be excluded from farms, nurseries and gardens by fencing not less than 4½ ft. in height, for once they have fed freely on cultivated crops, either through a gap in the fence or by leaping over it, they are very apt to return and feed on the better fare-outside the forest. Scarecrows are of little use, for roe-deer, like most wild creatures, soon learn to distinguish between the scarecrow and the " lord of the creation," ever alert to his own interest.
But roe-deer dread nothing so much as the unnatural, and have such fear of being " taken-in," that a bit of newspaper, about 4 in. square tied round the buds at the top of the leading shoot of a conifer, Fig. 124, acts as a very simple and efficient protection. This, to be effective, must be done in autumn, and will usually remain attached like a collar at the base of the new growth till the following autumn, when the procedure must be repeated, and each autumn succeeding until the plants have outgrown danger of damage.
Another method of warding off attacks of deer consists in coating the top shoots of young trees with an offensive pigment, such as a mixture of four parts fresh cow-dung, one part coal-tar or slaked lime, and just enough urine to admit of working the whole into a paste, which may be laid on with a wooden spud. Or the proprietary article called Smearoleum No. 1 (Thomas & Co., Ltd., Ceres Works, Liverpool), which is handy and effective, may be used safely on both the leading shoots and also stems liable to be barked. This, of course, has to be repeated every autumn, and if commenced early enough and continued long enough, there is no danger of the plants losing their leading growths or of the stems being barked by deer.