Deer can indeed cause serious damage to trees. Also, they can cause significant damage to the shrubs when they rub their antlers on them. In general, you can notice antler rubbing on tree trunks, flexible saplings, and limbs. The damaged barks will have shredded areas and vertical scrapes.
As such, the underlying wood gets exposed. Typically, the male bucks tend to develop antlers anywhere between April and August. Moreover, the antlers are covered with a soft vascular material called velvet. This material provides nourishment to the antlers while they develop.
The velvet dries during the breeding season and they rub it off. As such, the antlers become polished. There is no question that deer cause problems to the farmers and gardeners. Because these animals feed on crops, landscapes, and gardens, the damage could be higher when they come in great numbers.
Significant damage to the trees comes in the form of thinning on the lower branches. Stems and twigs have a jagged appearance. Deer don’t have upper incisors. That’s why they need to tear plants or jerk them while feeding. The damage starts from the ground level and ends at about 6 feet high.
The cambium layer of tree can get stripped off by deer scraping. If this happens the tree will survive a few more years only. If the damage is minimal, then it may recover.
You can put trunk guards around trees to protect them. You can plant trees that deer do not like such as pine, birches, and spruces. You can add fencing.