Pear vs. Other Fruit Trees for Deer
When designing a successful wildlife orchard, you must consider a mix of trees and shrubs that provide mast that is highly preferred by the animals you hope to attract. You should also consider the pollination needs of your plants, along with the timing of their fruit drop to ensure that you have desirable nutrition throughout the fall season.
The right mix of fruit trees for your orchard will depend on your hardiness zone and your soil characteristics. Here at Wildtree.co, we can offer you expert advice on which trees and shrubs to choose. Your plants will thrive and you will soon have a deer herd that depends on your property for reliable nutrition.
When it comes to fruit trees, deer have a clear predilection for pears, apples, and persimmons, although they will not shy away from plums. Some pear and apple varieties are particularly cherished and appreciated by deer.
Before embarking on your wildlife orchard, visit Wildtree’s blog for tips and advice on growing the deer population on your land. The trees you buy from us have been proven to attract and sustain thriving wildlife populations. We help you make the most out of your time and money.
How Do I Choose My Wildlife Orchard Trees?
When you plant your wildlife orchard, you want to mimic the natural diversity that deer find in the wild.
You don’t want to plant a single plant species because that’s not how nature works. You want to plant several trees and shrubs—including, ideally, species of trees and shrubs that blossom and produce their crop at different times. Your goal is to provide food for your deer all year round so that they linger on your land and make it their home.
Pears, Apples, Persimmons, Plums, or Mulberries?
Pears Are a Deer’s First Food Choice
Deer love pears: they are sweet, tasty, and crunchy. As whitetail specialists, we have isolated pear trees that deer particularly love: Kieffer pears.
Bartlett pear is soft and buttery and deer love it. Kieffer pear is harder and crispier. The Kieffer pear tree is more versatile and resistant to warm and humid springs. The Bartlett pear is more sensitive to fire blight.
We suggest you plant various pear cultivars on your plant to deliver more options to deer and have better pollination. You will also extend pear availability over longer stretches of time.
Deer Love Their Apples
When deer have a choice between apples, they will always choose the sweetest ones, which is why we don’t plant Granny Smith apples in our wildlife orchards. The apple varieties we have chosen deliver sweet apples. As a bonus, the Dorset Apple will start dropping apples in June, giving deer plenty of reasons to stay on your land.
Deer Also Like Persimmons
Deer like persimmons because of their sweetness, juiciness, and crunchiness. Persimmons help deer reinforce their energy stock, particularly with winter coming. Winter months are lean months, during which deer have fewer food choices. Deer will do better in the winter if they have built up their fat and energy in the fall—and that’s where persimmons come in handy.
Mulberries and Berries
Berries are great for deer. Blackberries, strawberries, and berries, in general, are easy to graze on as most of them are bushes that grow to a level where deer can easily reach them. Because berries are small, deer like to nibble at them, moving from one berry bush to another.
Mulberry trees are taller than bushes but drop their berries on the ground where deer can peck at them. Mulberry crops are usually very large and give plenty of berries for deer. This makes mulberries a great snack for deer in the early summer.
Plums are sweet—and that’s what attracts deer. Plums’ sugars build up deer energy stocks in the late summer and early fall: that’s exactly when deer need to accumulate extra energy for the coming winter. Plums also have significant proteins, which is great for antler, muscle, and bone development.
Protect Your Young Trees from Deer
When you plant seedlings, you must protect them from deer. Deer like to eat young shoots, as these are soft and tender. However, that means you won’t have the harvest you expect.
Also, bucks like to rub their antlers on trees, thus damaging the bark and the tree itself, especially if the tree is young and not yet established.
If you want your fruit trees to grow and give you plentiful crops, you must protect them and fence them while they are young. This will give them time to grow strong and establish their rooting system.
Pick Your Orchard Trees from Wildtree
Dr. Deer has picked trees and shrubs for their proven attraction to deer. Years of practice, experience, and observation have shown us which trees deer like and which trees quickly adapt to specific hardiness and soil conditions.