I want to make panels to place around trees to protect them from deer. I'd like to make the panels modular so I can assemble 3 of them in a triangle for a small tree, 4 in a square for a bigger tree, etc.

So I want to be able to fasten one panel to another at an angle as obtuse as 120 degrees (90, 108, etc.), and also have it be temporary, so I can reassemble the panels as needed.

What kind of joinery or hardware would make this possible?


To clarify, I probably should call these frames instead of panels. What I want to do is make wooden frames, within which is wire mesh or maybe a lattice of sticks (which literally fall from the sky in enormous quantity). This would be much cheaper than solid wood, look nicer, and allow air and light into the tree.

So the wood I want to join is the vertical framing of these frames.

  • Given we're talking about deer, how tall do the panels need to be? Not sure if it will drive the Answers but this is a detail that might need to be in the body of the Question.
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 17:33
  • I think something like this (treepro.com/products) is a much better approach (I am not associated with the product!). I have used a similar product (purchased through Amazon). The 60" size tube is enough to keep the deer from doing any damage to the young trees.
    – Rob
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 15:53
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    That's interesting, but I don't get how it works for trees (like mine) that have branches starting pretty low to the ground. It seems like it'd only work if you have a long slender trunk for 4 or 5 feet before there are any branches, and even then the deer could probably reach the branches. Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 19:52
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    We just use 4' rolled fencing, without any framing. It naturally forms a cylinder. We cut it to whatever length is needed, and mesh the cut wires into the grid where the ends meet. It has been very effective.
    – George
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 2:11
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    @Graphus: I'm sure that's true, but it baffles me. When I ask a question, it's because I really want the answer, so I actually check back in. And if someone is trying to help, I want to help them help me. Why do people bother asking questions if they don't want the answer enough to do that? Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 17:50

3 Answers 3


What kind of joinery or hardware would make this possible?

Hinges. Specifically, regular old butt hinges with removable pins like you'd use for hanging a door. Attach the mating leaves of each hinge to the right and left sides of each panel, respectively, so that the right side of one panel will mate with the left side of another. To assemble, just line up two panels and drop in the pins. You can connect any number of panels this way, and bend the joints to whatever angle you need. If you have many panels, you might want to nail a few braces across the tops of the panels to fix the angles, but a tree that needs that many panels to surround it probably doesn't need protection from deer.

If I were doing this, I'd make a simple jig to ensure that the hinges are installed in the same locations on every panel so that they'll all mate up.

  • Something hinge-like is definitely the right answer, but for practical use in an outdoor setting, you really want something much looser and more flexible than an actual leaf hinge. Screw eyes with loose pins would work much better. That said, the whole idea of building wood panels for deer control doesn't make much sense. There are better ways. Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 12:53
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    @WalnutClose: What would you suggest? Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 13:48
  • +1. The only thing that gives me pause is the hold of the screws long-term (or in the short term if the deer interact with the panels repeatedly!) since presumably the maximum length that can be used will be approximately 5/8".
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 13:53
  • @JoshuaFrank, what species of deer? How many?
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 13:54
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    @WalnutClose Consider converting all that ^^ to an answer.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 6:37

As deer barrier, if you want something movable as you've suggested, I'd go to a farm store and get 50" cattle panels (these are welded 1/8" or 6 gauge wire panels, 16' long). Cut them into thirds and you'll end up with two 56" and one 64" rigid welded wire panel from each (16" is lost if you cut back to an upright on each side). Get a bunch of snap rings or mini-carabiners to join them at the corners of your polygon. Deer won't generally jump into an enclosed space, so the 50" is sufficient to hold them. The panels are rigid, easy to move around, and easy to store against a wall. –

If you instead really want to build wooden framed wire panels, then to join these, I would use screw eyes and bolts for the "hinges." Get some lag screw eyes with a 1/2" or so eye. On the left side (say) of each panel, put them in pairs - one pair top, one middle, one bottom on each left stile. Leave 2" between the eyes in each pair. On the right side of each panel put a single screw eye top, bottom and middle, centered in the spaces created by the left side pairs. You can then match these up in your corners, and drop 5/16" carriage bolts 3" or so long in each joint. This will be enormously easier to manage than actual hinges, since there is a fair bit of float to accommodate the fact that your orchard floor is not perfectly flat, and the panels will not want to stand perfectly vertical.

  • I like the eye-screws & bolt hinges, but for something like this, a simple matched pair would work - no need to use 3 to make a hinge. Just a pair lined up reasonably closely near the top & bottom of each adjoining panel should be sufficient. Add a 3rd pair near the middle if the panels are tall enough to warrant.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 11:28

Consider a mitered picture frame:

hexagon picture frame

One can easily cut nearly any number of sides with a miter box and hand saw or a table saw, etc. Joining can be done with biscuits, pocket screws, dowels or any combination of the above. Glue is probably contraindicated as you reference temporary, plus one must get the structure around the tree rather than over the tree. One could place doublers over each joint rather than attempt edge-on fastening, as appearance appears to be unimportant for this task.

Once the shape is assembled, perhaps two shapes, one can screw into the edges of the shape to secure the panels. One can use material from 1x2s up to 2x6s which would be seriously strong. The shape can be constructed as in the image or each member could be rotated 90° for a larger surface on which to attach the panel.

Using construction screws and a power driver would make short work of assembly and disassembly.

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