WSU Whatcom County Extension

Integrated Pest Management for Blueberries

Deer

Vertebrates

 

Pest Status

Deer feed on foliage, twigs, buds, and fruit, which can delay maturity, reduce yield, have a negative impact on growth and, in severe cases, cause death of the young blueberry plant. Deer can be pests year-round during all stages of blueberry plant growth. An integrated approach to control is generally most effective in reducing damage from deer.


Management

Physical barriers, such as fences, offer the best control and should be installed around a new blueberry field prior to or immediately after planting if deer are known to be a problem in the area. Although effective, fencing is expensive and usually cost prohibitive for most growers.

Various brands of chemical repellents are available for use that interrupt deer feeding by having an unpleasant taste or disagreeable odor; the effectiveness of these products is generally inconsistent.

Landowners may destroy damaging deer if they have a crop damage permit.  This method is most effective for solitary deer or infrequent visitations.

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WSU Whatcom County Extension • 1000 N. Forest St., Bellingham, WA 98225 • (360) 778-5800 • whatcom@wsu.edu