Warning about tree wrap
I don't have a question, I have a warning about the use of tree wrap.
You know the small brown rolls of tree wrap you can buy at any garden store to wrap around the bottom foot or two of young trees to prevent rabbits from eating the bark... If you use it, make sure not to leave it on outside of winter!
Spring of 2008 I bought 16 fruit trees of various types and planted them. Winter 2008 I put on the wrap. Spring 2009 the wrap was still on and everything started to bud and all of the trees appeared to be doing all right. in early May many of the trees had leaves, but several of my trees were not doing well. In some cases, only the buds on the top had opened and the leaves were turning rotten and falling off. In other cases the buds never opened.
We were perplexed about why this was happening, so we brought a cutting into a local nursery. The guessed it was a fungus problem and gave us a spray for it. It didn't help.
Fast forward to today - June 2009:
5 trees have total death of all major limbs
1 tree is in a "half dead" state
10 trees seem unaffected
We decided to cut down the 5 dead trees. After cutting 2 down we began taking the tree wrap off so that we could throw the trees into the woods. We discovered that the tree trunk was covered with suckers (pale moist suckers that reminded me of how skin looks when kept under a band-aid too long). There was also visible fungus (or what I assume is fungus) on some trees, and ant colonies living inside the tree wrap on several trees - larvae and all.
All 5 of the completely dead trees were further down the hill towards the pond or under the shade of other trees (more moist conditions).
Of the 5 dead trees: every one has multiple suckers
Of the 1 half-dead tree: it had many suckers
Of the 10 healthy trees: there was only 1 sucker between all 10.
I am including a picture of what the trunk of the tree looked like on one of the dead trees after removing the wrap.
Please learn from my mistake and take your tree wrap off early in the spring!