We expanded our experimental efforts into protecting Oak buds from deer browse this past winter. We added a paper bud cap, same size as we use to protect White Pine buds, to the balloon method. We used them side by side to compare the results.
We're still waiting to see if the Oak buds will grow through the paper. In some cases we manually ripped a small hole in the fold of the bud cap, just above the terminal bud. In other cases we did not. I suspect that the vigorous buds will grow right through the paper in either case.
The paper appears to last longer and hold up better than the balloons, which begin to break down in late winter.
Various stapling methods were applied with the paper caps on the Oak. The most effective method appears to be one in which we stapled over and around the main stem of the Oak, being careful not to staple through or into the stem itself. Experimenting with different staplers and staple sizes tells you what size to use. As it turned out the staplers and staples which we were already using for the White Pine seemed to work perfectly for the Oak. After stapling the paper bud cap twice around the stem, a vertical staple was applied through the paper alone, alongside the stem. This was done on both sides of the stem. This seemed to help prevent the cap from tipping to the side, which would expose the bud.
We noted that there are paper bud capped Oak stem tops which were ripped right off the remaining stem by the deer. We have not seen this with the balloons. The deer will occasionally do the same to the tops of White Pine, but not as frequently as they apparently do to the Oak.
The preliminary results are positive. But we need to make further observations as the growing season gets into full swing.