Deer scrape season is nearly upon us, which means it’s time to protect vulnerable trees from damage. Deer come to small trees to scrape the itchy velvet off their newly grown antlers, as well as to mark their territory. Trees less than 4 inches in trunk diameter and thin-barked species tend to be hit hardest by deer scrapes. This scraping behavior primarily takes place from mid-fall to winter but may start in late summer. The scraping can destroy the tree’s protective bark and cambium—the layer just below the bark that transports water and nutrients throughout the tree, thus destroying the tree’s livelihood. If scraped enough by the deer, the young tree may not survive. If there are vulnerable trees growing on your property, consider applying a deer guard to prevent deer scrape damage. There are different types and materials of deer guard available. The City of Novi recommends flexible mesh deer guards (pictured), as they do not block airflow or trap moisture against the trunk. Deer may still attempt to scrape against the deer guard, but the trunk of the tree will be protected. Applying a deer guard is one of the many possible measures you can take to help prevent the early death of young trees and sustain more longer-lived trees in Novi.