This winter seems to be a tough one to shake off. It will just not go away. Repetitive late season snow and nighttime below freezing temperatures are wearing human patience thin.
Our neighbors living in the natural world around us are also feeling the frustration of waiting for spring. Wildlife was already stressed this winter by the lack of mast crop (acorns), which serve as the mainstay of their winter diet. Repeated stresses to oak trees in our region in the form of non-native pests, ice damage, and even the legendary deracho storm of 2012 have all combined to challenge the production of acorns.
The delay in blooming of early spring fruits and berries along with the depletion of what mast crop did exist is forcing wildlife to find other sources of food. For Boxerwood and our neighbors in the community this translates to horticultural specimens within our human-interest zone. Whitetail Deer are notorious for damaging landscaping in urban and suburban areas during hard winters. We are now experiencing a new level of such damage as the deer search to replace food sources that are normally available in nature by this time.
As you look around you it may become apparent that this increased desperation for food is resulting in a “browse line” approximately 4 to 5 feet high. Just about as high as a deer can reach. Here at Boxerwood we have noted a significant increase in deer browse among our rhododendron, azaleas, and even arborvitae.