Attack on cherry tree

I hope you'll bear with me, confirm or contradict my assumptions, and answer any questions you have answers for.
I planted a cherry tree almost a year ago, and actualy got about 20 cherries from it soon after Memorial Day. I was hoping for a lot more this year.
This winter, we had lots of snow in Baltimore (and everywhere else , for that matter) and for the first time I noticed what seemed like deer tracks in the snow, though they weren't perfect (which I attributed to melting, not to being a non-deer.) and I also saw something was eating the bark on the tree, about 1/4 o the circumference. Is that enough to kill the tree?? or to kill branches that start on the same side that the bark is gone from????
I have an end-of group townhouse with a small yard, and a 46" picket fence. I know that it's nothing for a deer, even a baby deer?, to jump over the fence, but I've never seen one inside the fence or found deer tracks. (I see lots a block away, but I don't even see them right outside the fence, except a couple times in 10 years)
There was no trunk knawing during the summer or fall. Is the recent bark eating because the snow covered other food and it was looking for something new and easy to eat that was above the snow?????
Would that imply that I'm relatively safe as long as there is no snow on the ground??
The tree came with a coil of white plastic around the trunk, that covered about 12 inches of trunk. I left it on and the dear ate from the part above the plastic. I have another coil from another tree that died, so I put that on now, covering 2 feet of trunk, all of the trunk below the first limb,
Do you think that is enough to stop the deer, or will it push the plastic aside, or eat from trunk above the limb (which might be harder to get at.) ?????
OTOH, God didn't make trees with plastic covers. Will the tree be missing out on something if I leave that cover on for years to come?????
Is it possible the bark will grow back??
Thanks.
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On 3/17/2014 8:25 AM, micky wrote:

Sounds like a rabbit problem to me and enough trunk wrap would have prevented it. Rabbits will gnaw around a tree eating its bark when that is all they can get when ground is covered with snow. Obviously they will be gnawing low at the height of the snow line.
Deer don't chew the bark off trees but a buck would tear it up polishing his antlers but not on a small tree. If they eat anything it might be small tender twigs. Wrap will not protect the tree from deer and fencing or fenced netting around the tree is required. Local park tried to reforest a field and while trees were wrapped, only about half survived damage by bucks.
Netting or fence should be six feet or more to keep out deer. You may have had one in your yard but I suspect a rabbit caused your problem.
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On 3/17/2014 8:36 AM, Frank wrote:

I recall I uploaded this video my wife took of deer feeding in my front yard while I was off deer hunting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnBxKALmpPU

When deer eat evergreens they are hard up for food. They are also eating the ivy under the bushes. Some people hate ivy because it is evasive. At my house it is tough to grow anywhere but right next to the house.
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On 3/17/2014 7:25 AM, micky wrote: ... ...

No, but it'll severely hamper its health and future growth.
...

"New and easy" doesn't have anything to do with it -- unavailability of other source owing to snow otoh is almost everything. They do what they have to do...

Not necessarily, though, once they've found a new source altho I don't believe cherry are high on the list of favorite bark they may well come back for the blooms and fruit later on.

Unless it's pretty easy to get loose, as you observed they'll go elsewhere. How aggressive is wholly dependent on just how hungry they're getting...

No, as long as it isn't tight.

_VERY_ slowly it'll heal over the wound if it doesn't get diseased or suffer other damage. But, depending on the actual size (I gather it's still pretty small) it could take many years.
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On 3/17/2014 12:59 PM, dpb wrote:

I had planted an almond that rabbits girdled. Thought it was dead but a branch grew out of the base and all I got were some crumby peaches as apparently it had been grafted onto peach stock.
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On 3/17/2014 8:25 AM, micky wrote:

I have two red maples with bark damage that occurred before we bought the house a year ago and they appear to be healing. 1/4 of the circumference might heal, and it may depend how deeply it was gnawed. Most of the advice I've read about newly planted trees is to wrap them for winter, after the first frost (to keep from wrapping bugs in), and unwrap in the spring. Wouldn't hurt to mulch them, too, to insulate. Most winter damage to hardy young trees is from repeat freeze/thaw or from very cold, windy weather. That said, I would watch the damaged area for bugs...if it loses sap, expect it to attract ants. I don't think ants will hurt it, and they be naturally attracted to the tree.
I have a pair of rabbits that have set up housekeeping under my shed; gonna try to trap and deport them. The one critter I WANTED to stay in my yard, a big bullfrog that moved into the pond last spring, didn't make it. Saw stuff that looked like eggs floating on the pond the other day when the ice was gone...we'll see :o)
You should be able to contact an extension agent near you for advice about your area; photos would be a big help.
Here is a link to Purdue U. info about trees (they have loads and loads of good info): http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ho-100.pdf
Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the document.
My brother-in-law is going to give us a fig tree. He buries his every winter by digging around half the root ball, tipping it over, laying it in a trench and then burying. I hope to keep ours going by covering and mulching....too old for that much digging ever spring and fall :o)
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