During the months of buck rut, young trees are most vulnerable to bark damage that occurs when bucks rub their antlers against the bark. Unfortunately, deer don’t have a tree preference and the behavior strips off bark creating large wounds leaving the tree open to disease and other organisms. If deer are prevalent and your landscape has trees that are less than four inches in diameter, proactive measures should be taken during this time. The most economical way to protect a tree is with trunk guards, or plastic sleeves that can be put around the tree during late fall through winter.
Although more costly, if the tree diameter is too large for plastic protectors then pounding 3 stakes about a foot from the base, in a tripod formation and then wrapping with either plastic netting or chicken wire making sure that the entire tree is enclosed is another effective method. All supplies should be available at places like Menards or Home Depot.