Will hemlock and cedar tree needles come back after deer have stripped them?
Sorry, the foliage won’t likely come back once deer visitors have stripped it away. Look in mid- to late June to see if any buds survived; if there is no new growth prune the tree. Trim branches as close to the tree trunk as possible without cutting into the branch collar, which is the thick part of the branch closest to the trunk. This ensures the tree will heal over quickly. Expect that the deer will be back to dine next season. There’s nothing a deer likes better on a cold winter’s day than lunch in a hemlock or cedar grove, where the tree branches offer protection from the elements and a sheltered spot without much snow. Other food on the winter menu includes yellow birch, beaked hazel, dogwood, and maples, but these deciduous trees aren’t as popular because they don’t provide deer the same shelter from the weather. If you’d like to plant more conifers that deer won’t eat as readily, then consider red and white pine, and black and white spruce, which they don’t fancy as much.