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Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Posted by mjmarco (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 12, 10 at 8:37

Need some help... the snow has melted and there is about 6'' x 6 inches of bark chewed from the bottoms of 10 apple trees. My question is how to fix it or do you leave it alone and let the trees heal by themself. Time for rabbit stew!! thanks for your help!
md


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Wow, I'm sorry to hear that :( I don't have an answer to this but I am curious as how one would fix this problem. Thanks in advance to anyone who replies.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

If the critters didn't chew off a complete circle around the trunk, the tree will still survive through its sap layer. The sap layer is right under the bark and is the pipeline upwards. With the way it is,its likely going to bleed sap through its open hole, which invites insects and fungi. So slap some tree pruning compound on the open trunk to eliminate the airborne stuff. They make a spray sealer or an asphalt emulsion gunk, or if you want, heat up some wax and paste it over the open scar. Its just like a bandaid that you would put on yourself. If it isn't completely rid of a bark/cambien layer conduit it will be okay, not happy but, survive.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

md:

We need to know what % of the trees circumference is girdled. Unless it is all or most, just let the tree heal on it's own. Obviously you need to prevent this next winter. I'd think about wire mesh from ground to well above snow level.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

I'll get pictures if I can figure out how to add them. Most of the trees are chewed on one side some have the bark off right down to the wood and some have been chewed down on the bark very deep groves in the tree. thanks again for your help I'll load picture tonight thanks.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

If you like to mess around with grafting, you could try bridge-grafts.

Looking forward to seeing pix.

Eric

Here is a link that might be useful: Bridge-graft


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Under the snow damage is mostly done by voles, if not chewed all
the way around you're OK.
Bridge grafting could work if the above is not dried up completely, in my
long winter with early damage it would never work come spring.
That illustration with seedling planted beside I think it's a choke, these
you would have to grow several month before they have any "umpf" to push sap.

Konrad


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Hey Konrad,

Did you mean Joke? My suggestion is just a experiment. Practice grafting. I probably would not do it.

I had voles in the early days. I believe I got rid of them by eliminating the grass around my trees.

Eric


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re: major rabbit damage on apple trees how to fix it! with pictu

new pictures not sure if the link will work here goes


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

second try hope it works

http://i808.photobucket.com/albums/zz7/mkmcde/tree006.jpg


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it! 3 try for p

strike three I'm done sorry if this doesn't work...

http://s808.photobucket.com/albums/zz7/mkmcde/


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

mjmarco let me give you a hand with that.

THISISME to the rescue.

Puts on cape, clears his voice and says in his most manly voice. "Nows the time to save the day!!!"

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

scrape left from eating

Photobucket


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thanks... you fix it!

don't know what you did but thanks!


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 13, 10 at 0:20

Besides protecting the tree from further damage (future rabbit attacks), there's not much you can do at this point. Hopefully none of the trees are completely girdled. If they are not, they will start to cover over the wounds. The trees have already started to partition off the damaged areas, so with luck, immediate disease issues won't be an issue. The speed at which the trees can cover over the damage, and environmental factors, will determine if rot will become a problem. A key principal to keep in mind is that the tree, left alone, can deal with the damage better than if you try to interfere. I would recommend against using any type of sealer (pruning compound, asphalt emulsion gunk, etc). These have been found to be counterproductive in most circumstances.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Myth of Wound Dressings


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage....Posting Pics

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 13, 10 at 0:25

For future reference...

Once your picture has been uploaded to a image hosting site such as Photobucket or Flickr, find its web address by right clicking on the image and copying the image location. Some sites may even provide the address in a text box below the photo for your convenience.

Let's say, as an example, that the address of the picture you want to post is http://somepicturesite.com/yourpicture.jpg

To embed the picture into a post, use the command
<img src="http://somepicturesite.com/yourpicture.jpg">

Note that I had to use special characters to get the command above to show up here without turning into a picture, but you can use it as shown (with the correct image location, of course).


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

mjmarco,

You are so close to posting pictures. Next time cut and paste the HTML code into the message body. Looks like you were trying to cut and paste the direct link.

Sorry about the trees. That's serious chewing. Little bastards. I'd be like Elmer Fudd, wabbit hunting. Looks like you had at least two and half feet of snow.

Eric


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

thanks, Brandon that's what I thought too hoping that no disease issues happen I thought maybe the tape that you use when when the tree is young may help, but I'm not sure if that can lead to insects problem?

Your right Eric...the last Nor-Eastern that hit put 2 feet of snow on the ground, the trees were find before that storm 3 weeks ago...going hunting in the morning...funny rabbit...

also thanks for the help with the pictures I will remember how to post them now.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 13, 10 at 3:50

The tape wouldn't do anything to help the tree but could introduce a number of problems. No type of covering or sealant is recommended.

There is one thing you could try, but I don't know of any long-term, scientific studies that prove its value. One of the frequent contributors in the tree forum, Spruceman, has suggested the use of liquid copper fungicide to prevent rot in similar situations. I haven't seen anyone, so far, show any negative side effects or disprove its usefulness. It might be worth looking into.

Here is a link that might be useful: Preventing Wood Rot in Trees--Liquid Copper Fungicide


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Brandon, have you seen any research that shows that something can't help for dehydration issues for such massive wounds? I'm well aware of Shigo's work concering pruning wounds, but those are wounds of relatively small area and a point of attachment loaded with useful compounds to counteract fungus. Trees are well protected against this kind of wound as they are inevitable in a forest of falling trees. I'm am not asking this as an argument- I'm genuinely interested in the research.

I have sometimes used electric rubber tape over vole girdled trees to try to reduce dehydration from exposure as well as to encourage the continued flow of sap from the roots while the tree rebuilds cambium. For severely injured trees like the photos show- at least the ones almost entirely girdled I've use plastic attached with the same tape.

Anecdotally this seemed to help, which is practically meaningless because I've used no control to evaluate results but at least it made my customers feel better.

Most of the photographed trees should have no trouble healing in any case, and will have such a tough callus the rabits will be unable to damage them the same way again IME.

I once had a snow year where rabbits completely girdled the first 4' of trunk of many trees in my nursery. It was a total loss because even if I'd tried an approach graft with a small tree I could never have sold the resulting tree.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

mjmarco assuming there is some connective bark tissue the trees will live without having to do any bridge grafts. However when you have wounds of that size a tree needs to be protected. The wounds should be painted just like the sun damaged tree in the video link provided below.

If you don't paint them you will be inviting borers and disease into your trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paint Your Fruit Tree


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

thisisme... thanks for that link it was said in this post about grafting so I didn't think it had anything to do with my problem. I always thought it was young trees for grafting so checking out that link their were other links for grafting older trees found something that I did not know.
I don't have a problem with bores in Upstate NY, (but now that I said that I will). So I will keep a eye on it and see how well the trees do, if I see any signs then I will have to change my thinking. I see so many theories that say leave them alone so I'll try that for now... I guess. Unless I missing something that I don't know that's were all of you come in thanks again this is a great site for help. Still hunting that Bunny...


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 13, 10 at 15:43

Harvestman, yes, I've seen/heard a number of opinions that would indicate such treatment is counterproductive, BUT I don't have any reference handy at the moment. So, I guess I will just say that I can't provide support for such a position at the moment.

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Mjmarco, when I posted my original post, I almost went into the borer situation, but erased what I had written for simplicity and just wrote, "(sealers) have been found to be counterproductive in most circumstances." Looking back, I think that may have been an oversimplification or even a possibly misleading oversimplification.

While many of the snake-oil sealers out there (asphalt emulsion gunk, etc) have no merit and have been proven to be counterproductive, the half-strength indoor latex paint, that Thisisme's link discussed, does have it's positives and is widely recommended to protect against borers and specific disease issues in certain situations. From what I can tell, the evidence seems to lean, at least somewhat, towards using the treatment Thisisme's link suggests. If you haven't already, I'd at least recommend researching the possibility of borers. Your local ag extension office might be able to provide a knowledgeable opinion/advise.

This is a more complex set of issues than it might first appear, and I'm sorry if my previous posts jumped the gun.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

mjmarco the half strength interior latex paint will breath and also allow some moisture to pass through it so it does not have the same detrimental affect of other sealers. It also won't crack and cause the kind of problems as other sealers unless the tree cracks underneath it do to the tree drying out but thats what the paint is there to help prevent. At the same time it should slow down the speed at which the tree loses moisture through the wounds and protect the trunk to some degree from the coming summer strength sun. Not to mention protection from borers if you do happen to have some you are unaware of.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 13, 10 at 18:10

yes seeing that video with the nursey doing it made me think it wasn't a bad idea. Just one more question since my problem is not sun scold could I tint or use the paint to match the bark?(not that I'm a exterior designer) I have never see the paint in Nursey stores or the big blue boxes. I think he said in the video link it was just latex paint cut 50-50?


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

You can use whatever color you want. However lite colors are better because the sun can/will damage your tree now that the bark is removed and liter colors reflect sun better.

You want an "flat interior latex paint." Not exterior and not latex enamel and not a gloss. Just a plain flat interior latex paint. The easy way to do this is to got to one of the big box stores. Tell them what you want and ask them to put a quart in a half gallon container. When you get home fill it the rest of the way with water and shake before well use.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 13, 10 at 20:10

ok, thisisme...thankyou...you have been very helpful and I appreciate all your advice and everyone else that helped. Still working on that rabbit I have the live trap set with apples in it for tonight...funny how they like apple trees, in the first picture the 4th and 5th trees are peach and cherry and they never got a nibble.
md


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Everything seems to prefer apple over any other common fruit- must be higher protein in bark.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Braised rabbit with apples,that sound pretty good. Fruit wood smoked rabbit, that seems fair. Karma

Eric


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

I paint all of my apples trees out of town because the sunlight is more
intense then in town, there you have buildings all around you.
Paint is also very useful against these kind of damage, I have almost
zero damage when I paint them, if something gets it, then very minimal.
See link...
For damaged or large wounds, I use Dr. Farwell's grafting compound, it's a water based substance, this would be better then paint.
Never use a tar product.

Konrad

Here is a link that might be useful: Orchard pictures...


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 14, 10 at 0:39

I should have added this into what I said above, but I was too concerned about straightening out the mess of my previous posts to think straight...

The purpose of using the paint, as Thisisme noted in his second post above, is to keep borers out and not to seal in moisture or prevent rot. Even with larger wounds like the ones on your otherwise healthy trees, moisture loss should be of minimal concern. Without the possibility of borer damage, your tree is probably better off without the paint. BUT, if borers are present, I believe the paint should be an overall positive.

--------------------------

I've seen lots of reports of rabbit damage this year. I'm not sure if it will help much to know this, but you certainly aren't alone. I don't know if it has been the timing of the snowfalls, the amount of snow, or what. I know I would really really freak if I came and found this kind of damage to my trees. Whatever you decide to do with them, I hope your trees do well and heal quickly.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Brandon 7, you contradict without explanation. Is your information entirely based on research about treating pruning wounds? I'm not sure if sap doesn't move past serious wounds more efficiently if evaporation is reduced and transpiration increased by some kind of sealing method and I've never seen research specific to the issue. Please enlighten us.

Rabbit damage is cyclical, based mostly on a combination of 2 factors. Like most rodents, rabbits have extreme cycles of population boom and bust and when a boom year matches a snow year- look out. Snow locks out other sources of food and raises access to bark. This is based on my observations only, by the way.

What you need to look for is rabbit poop on top of the snow, at such times where there's a noticable amount you may be able to prune your trees early and give the rabbits
sustenance more nourishing than the crucial bark at the base of your trees. Prune your apple trees gradually so there are always some branches above the snow.

You can wrap foil around the trunks as the snow gets ever higher, as rabbits will only work the area above the snow, unlike voles and they will not, in my experience, try to chew through foil.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 14, 10 at 16:48

Harvestman, I wasn't considering pruning wounds in my above posts. However, the important sealing mechanisms are the same. The trees vascular system will pump water mostly vertically, so the most significant moisture loss will only occur through interrupted vascular channels. The trees have already (mostly) sealed off the damaged areas, so adding some form of moisture barrier only holds moisture against dead wood, inviting decay.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

brandon7 I have no studies to back my opinion but I also have not looked for any. However I used to do a lot of hiking and I have seen lots of trees (untreated)that had wounds of the size these trees have. Over time the wounds dried out and later rotted and killed the trees. I will admit I have never seen a treated wound of that size heal well after being treated. However thats because I have never seen one that had been treated before. Not because I saw it treated and the tree still failed.

I think what happened to the many trees I saw was the sun dried out the wound and killed more wood. The dead wood accepted water and thus mold and fungus. Then rot set in which killed the trees. At least thats what it looked like to me. Every tree I saw like that died. A 100% mortality rate if untreated. I don't think treating it could be any worse than that.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

That's some pretty nasty damage to the trees from the rabbits. Looking at the photos you could try some bridge
grafting and it might help. I've had 25+ years of working with fruit crops. There are different trains of thought about treating the wounds. What you could have done to prevent the injury is used chicken or stucco wire up to the first level of branches to prevent the injury. Once you have that kind of damage on trees there isn't really much you can do if it's completely girdled you'll probably lose the tree. From the photos I've seen some of the trees the damage is worse on some than others. There really isn't much you can do. You could use a seal to try to prevent diseases from damaging you trees. It might work or maybe it won't. What varieties are you growing. Trees have an amazing ability recover so you'll jus have to be patient and see how they heal.

Cheers

Kim


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 14, 10 at 19:36

There are many old trees out there that have recovered from larger wounds than those shown without any type of treatment. Previous logging activity is one source of such identified and studied wounds that have been successfully covered over. The belief that artificially covering over wounds is usually detrimental to the healing process (except in specific cases, like where borer activity is likely) is very widely held among professional arborists, scientist, and horticultural educators. Most of the counter recommendations I have seen are from those that sell various forms of snake-oil goop or those that are just repeating what they've heard through the grapevine. I've never seen a single modern scientific study that recommended artificial sealing of tree wounds except in cases of exceptional insect or disease pressure.

The compartmentalization of trees allow them to fairly effectively limit moisture flow in the case of wounding. They do this by sacrificing material near the wound. This is done whether a sealant is added or not. An artificial seal only holds moisture in against the dead material and increases the chance of rot. Rot doesn't occur in trees because of wood drying out, and in fact, sufficient moisture is required for rot to occur.

Whether Mjmarco's trees will successfully cover over their wounds and survive long-term will depend on quite a few factors. The speed at which these types of trees can cover their wounds, multiple environmental factors, the exact nature of the wounds, etc. But, it boils down mostly to whether the trees can cover the area before significant rot is introduced. I have very little personal experience will apple tree wounds, so many of you guys are probably a better judge of how fast the wounds will be covered than I am, but I'd guess the long-term future of some of these trees is questionable.

One aspect that may be important here is how long the trees need to last. I don't know what Mjmarco's plans are for the trees, but many fruit tree growers don't keep trees for the really long-term. The survival of a large shade tree, in the center of one's lawn or overhanging a house, can be significantly different than that of an apple tree being grown relatively temporarily for its crop.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

The research that I've seen corroberating Brandon's comments pertain to pruning cuts- particularly branch removal. These wounds are never large enough to threaten the vascular systems ability of adequate transport between the roots and remaining branches and in fact a properly removed branch affects only the vascular system leading to the removed branch itself.

For more serious wounds there have been experiments such as one noted by Richard Harris in "Arboriculture" third edition, page 531 which reads, "McDougall and Blanchette (1966) covered wounds of quaking aspen, red maple, with polyethylene plastic sheeting. Such treatment reduced dieback along margins and promoted callus growth on maple and aspen, but not on birch. They attributed the positive affects of treatment to reduced dessication of wound margins, retaining ethylene near the wound and providing thermal protection.

Does similar treatment aid in the healing of seriously wounded apple trees such as the girdled trees we are discussing? My guess is that no one knows and won't until someone performs some controlled experiments.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 14, 10 at 22:47

grapeguy... the first 2 trees are red del and the third is a golden del. The next two are a peach and cherry not touched at all by the rabbit and the last is a golden del. They are 12 year old trees mis-labeled buy the grower thought they were dwarfs. I took the fencing away 3 years ago thought I was in the clear. I live by water and the wildlife is endless...one time I saw a woodchuck climb the first tree to get the apples. I have 8 more apple trees planted away from these, I figured I would sacrifice the fruit on these so they would leave they others alone and so far it's worked. So maybe I'll experiment by painting two and leaving two untouched,see what happens. Keep in mind I spray for everthing, fungus and insect so maybe that will help. One main concern is getting that rabbit before more damage is done I just can't believe that rabbit has not gone in the live trap maybe the hawks got him and beleive me I've seen that too. Thanks for everyone's help this is a great way to get help and find out what is working in different states.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 16, 10 at 22:32

McDougall and Blanchette's study doesn't offer any solution to Mjmarco's situation (this thread's topic), but may be of general interest anyway. Anyone interested in further examination of the topic of wound covering with polyethylene plastic wrap may wish to review their notes. Their study was limited to short term evaluation and benefits, and recommended removal of the wrap after a "few weeks". Their study indicated that the treatment seemed beneficial on only some species and then only in cases were the wrap was applied on the "same day" as the wound was made (not possible in the case of Mjmarco's trees). Application even one week after wounding showed no or almost no benefit. They note that "modern research has shown that many commercial and traditional (wound sealants) provide no benefit to the tree, and some may promote wood decay." No long-term results of the study are discussed, but one can guess that a temporary application, to encourage quicker wound closure, would result in a better future for the tree. Many of the specifics in the study are somewhat interesting, so here's the link...

Here is a link that might be useful: McDougall and Blanchette's Results


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Alright Brandon, I give you credit for finding the actual study and I'm thankfull to know that my past treatments of girdling wounds probably were inaffective because they came too late. But you might also thank me for providing you the lead that led to your own re-evaluation. Check the final sentence of the first paragraph of your previous post.

I'm glad our competition leads to getting information I might otherwise miss and when I'm wrong I'll admit it. Be nice to get a little of that back.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

poke jab gouge, you guys crack me up!

Keep the information coming.

Eric


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Eric, I don't know if you're old enough to remember, but before what I consider the feminization of our higher education system these types of silly but somehow invigorating and potentially informative testebates (debates) were a common feature of campus life. I think boys and young men are more bored with school these days because this kind of interaction has been toned down so they turn to video games.

Sorry Brandon, I have no data to back this up.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

I was never on a debating team, but we did have them.

Brandon, You now have two minutes to rebut.

Eric


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 17, 10 at 22:30

Harvestman cracks me up too (most of the time)! Sometimes I think that if I said the sky was blue, Harvestman would present at least three arguments on how it wasn't and start another debate about clouds. LOL

OK, Harvestman, I'll give you credit for pointing out the my sentence was too broad. I don't consider the McDougall and Blanchette study a contradiction to what I meant to say (was thinking), but I it does invalidate the sentence, as written.

And, the study is interesting. I had not seen or heard of it before. I have, and have read, Harris's book, but missed that one (and probably lots more).

This should make you happy...I'm thinking about starting a thread on the tree forum about this study. I bet few of the peps there have seen it either.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Thanks Brandon. Harris' book is the best, isn't it. I've read it about 3 times which I guess certifies me as a hortnerd.

Yes, my method of learning is a definate contrarian choreography. Don't know if it's genetic wiring or the result of having been raised with an older brother who became a lawyer, but arguments inspire me to think out issues more completely.

Before leaving the subject of what can be done to aid in a trees recovery after severe girdling injury, Id like to throw out one question for anyone still interested (hopefully Brandon) to consider. That is, does the research about using compounds to aid in the healing of wounds completely address the question about increasing the odds of survival of a tree wounded in this manner?

All the research Ive been able to find on this subject only investigates how pruning compounds affect the speed of wound closure and the relative size of the area of fungus damaged (stained) wood, not on the actual survival rate of seriously injured trees.

I first became intensely interested in this issue when about a hundred apple trees that had been growing in my nursery for 3 years were severely injured by voles one winter. I discovered the damage in spring and bridge grafting was not a viable option. I wasnt primarily interested in how quickly I could get the wounds to close but only in trying to keep the trees alive, and I imagined that by tightly taping the trunk I might help the tree get a little extra moisture to the top of the tree and reduce desiccation, not at the wound, but in the upper portion of the tree. I suppose I was visualizing the tree trunk as a hose where the transpiration pull of water from the roots to the leaves could be aided by partially fixing a real bad leak.

At the time, I knew this was a long shot, and I was well aware of the studies that Brandon so often sites, about the futility of wound dressings- one of my teachers in hort-school was an absolute Shigo fanatic (Shigo is the researcher most credited for discrediting the use of pruning compounds) and I still have 2 of his books on my shelf.

I taped the trees with rubber electric tape anyway, and many of the trees, some of which looked to be entirely girdled, eventually healed over and went on to be sellable trees. Of course they probably would have healed anyway, but Id still like an explanation of whether my hose theory has any validity at all. I just dont have an adequate understanding of dicot vascular function to be completely settled on the question.

I have often seen completely girdled trees struggle for several years, sending out tiny and weak leaves, and then eventually build their own bridge of cambium tissue and return to vigor. On my sisters property, in coastal CA, Ive seen apple trees completely girdled by goats for their first 3 feet of trunk and still thriving years later, which completely blew my mind. I could only guess that the trees were aided by the near constant humidity of her coastal redwood environment and the fact that the trees were in a very shady location. The bark was completely stripped. Not that any of this is any evidence about how such miraculous recovery can be aided with human intervention. Actually, shading injured plants might help! Theres a research project.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 18, 10 at 18:56

I think the long-term (and for that matter, short- to mid-term) survival of semi-girdled trees is too complex for much generalized advise or case-independent odds of survival. Some of the variables would include the nature of damage, the amount of damage (severity of girdling), species, growing conditions (many variables there), aftercare (again many variables), age of tree, etc etc. Any meaningful/scientific study of such an issue would have to consider only a very limited amount of these variables to be practical. I think lots of experience (particularly with the type of tree in question) would be a good basis for guesses about survival in a particular case, but that's about it, guesses.

Many aspects of aftercare can be considered on an individual basis. There is already considerable information out there about such things as cleaning wounds and wound dressing, but no single aspect will independently determine the odds of survival in most cases. Of course if a variable is taken to an extreme (such as, if girdling was severe and total), a single variable might be enough to ensure failure.

I'm not sure I exactly understand your hose theory. I understand what you wrote, but I'm not comfortable making assumptions about some of the specifics.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Brandon, I'm just visualizing capillary pull up the vascular sheath being interupted at the point of girdling on the base of a tree. I'm imagining that the torn cambium would destroy the transpiration pull the same way a large hole in a straw would if you were sucking up fluid. It seems possible that tightly wrapping the wound with tape might allow that pull to bring some moisture above the wounded area to the branches. Of course the tape might just bind the moisture from the roots and not allow it to pass. But it also seems there's a small chance that it would allow moisture to pass upward on the inside of the wrap forming a kind of bridge between the severed points of the vascular sheath.

Don't know if that explanation makes any sense, but it's the best I can do tonight- too tired, too much pruning.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 18, 10 at 20:26

Dam Rabbit!


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

harvestman,

Sounds like bypass surgery to me. If I understand what you are saying, could you not install straws above and below the girdle. With a tight enough fit it would draw.
Well not straws, but you get the point.

I doubt it.

Eric


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Eric, I'm right there and actually thought about the same thing but I'm also thinking that the interior wood to the wound, rapped water tight might work a bit like a straw, letting some moisture through to be pulled back into the normal transpiration stream of the vascular sheath. Wrapping the interior of the taped wound with a wicking fabric might also be an option.

Anyone still following this topic probably missed an opportunity for a career in hort research. Personally I'm too ADD for careful research and need to be out there pruning, digging, planting,spraying, etc. every work day to maintain any semblance of sanity. For now I'll settle for the less glorious work of being a research critic, which should keep Brandon energized for months to come.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 19, 10 at 9:08

While the professor's talk the hunter hunts.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits!

Here are two more crazy thoughts.

1. Build raised bed boxes around the girdled trees. Mix some Rootone rooting hormone into a paste, brush onto the wound. Now fill the box with good compost / soil mix over top of wound. Walla standard tree in a box.

2. Remove the wounded area with a chainsaw. Drop the top back down on the stump. Huge crazy graft. Bolt it together with 1/2" thick metal straps.

I didn't say they are great ideas, just thoughts.

Eric


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Not crazy, but definately not good ideas, IMO. It's hard enough to get a pencil thick piece of wood a couple inches long to merge cambiums without dehydrating first. I've seen beginners fail at grafting because they tried grafting pieces with 4 or more buds instead of 2 or 3 to give their new grafts a head start. The bigger the piece the quicker the dehydration. So scrap your graft idea, the top of the tree will definately dehydrate fatally before being able to draw adequate moisture.

Pileing up the soil against the trunks in hopes of getting quick enough rooting to save the trees will fail for the same reason or nearly the same. If the trees are already so damaged that they are doomed they will never be able to generate new root from the trunk to save them. The wood likely will have to dedifferentiate cells to even begin sending out root from the trunk unless they are N. Spy, Cox, or one of the others that maintain root primordia above ground. Even these are unlikely to be able to provide adequate moisture quick enough to make a significant contribution. The primordia are burr knots, by the way, and if your trees lack them where the soil is to be piled up you haven't even a whisper of a chance. If they miraculously managed to root out in time you'd be stuck with a standard sized tree.

Remember that any of the trees that have at least a small bridge of undamaged bark will likely survive.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

mjmarco,

If you haven't figured it out, this is what you are looking for.

Photobucket

but be careful. See link below.

Eric

Here is a link that might be useful: Killer Rabbit


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 20, 10 at 9:21

No... those are Bunny's, I'm looking for a rabbit...still hunting.
md


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 20, 10 at 22:14

Well the trees are trying to heal themselfs. The color of the wounds are darker then when it happen. Would you beleive the rabbit was back chewing on a different spot, I can tell because of the color. Got to get that rabbit...


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

LOL..Eric!

If these were my trees I would have done something by now.
If you catch a rabbit well...I'm sure there is a tone more.

Konrad


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re: major rabbit damage on apple trees update new pictures look w

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 18, 10 at 10:21

LOOK what I caught!

Photobucket


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 18, 10 at 10:22

And this is what I used

Photobucket


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

MmmMmm good, looks like wabbit stew for supper for sure.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 18, 10 at 13:58

yes...hassenpfeffer for sure!


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

It's been almost 4 years, and I was just wondering how your trees fared.

Perhaps you could post a few pictures.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 15:44

They are doing ok... I have had a hard time with apple scab for the pass 2 years. Last year was a great year for my apples trees, The red del got a little of the black soot on the apples but tasted ok. The wounds have healed in that they don't look as bad as the pictures. I choose not to paint them. I'll post some pictures but right now it -5 degree f and the winds are 40 mph...a winter that won't end.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

In Kansas we have lots of rabbits so this is business as usual for us. They will girdle a tree like that in a few hours unprotected in most winters. Here is a few tricks I would suggest to Konrads point #1 paint the trunk of the tree with white latex indoor only paint because it's not as tasty to them #2 some rabbits don't get the message but nothing likes the taste of tar so spray the trunk with spectracide http://reviews.homedepot.com/answers/1999/product/100352315/spectracide-13-oz-ready-to-use-pruning-seal-aerosol-spray-questions-answers/questions.htm
#3 Cut chunks of flexible drain pipes and slit the side and snap them on the tree http://www.lowes.com/pd_259812-62059-51110_4294935753_44?productId=1239335
#4 for the most determined rabbits http://www.menards.com/main/building-materials/fencing/utility-fencing/galvanized/2-x-25-hardware-cloth/p-1356871-c-5769.htm

This post was edited by ClarkinKS on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 5:05


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

All that being said I have been growing nanking cherries here for years now and they love them and every winter we fight over them and they will stop at nothing to get them. Every time the snow drifts guess what they do.....climb up the drift! I spray the trunks, paint them you name it and finally my method is usually to feed them with branches I cut off the tops of apple trees, elms etc.. Sometimes distraction of easy food on the ground works better than fighting the mob of rabbits in a battle you can't win. Pruning is necessary for us every year anyway around the same time. Once they start on a tree like that they don't stop and Rabbits get pretty hungry but I hope that rabbit was working alone. Harvestman mentioned a grafting method above I think is a good one. If the damage is extensive on any of the trees and they are completely girdled you can as he mentioned use a bridge graft to fix damage

Here is a link that might be useful: Bridge Grafting

This post was edited by ClarkinKS on Sun, Mar 2, 14 at 11:26


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 15:44

Here are the updated pictures 4 years later, you can see the tree healed over and yes those are bunny tracks...first picture 2 trees in it.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 15:45

Second picture one tree in it...


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 15:47

3rd picture one tree in it.


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 15:54

4th picture one tree in it...since the first damage 4 years ago I eliminated a lot of bunnies and had no new damage since....other then deer pruning now and then.I do spray those damage areas with fungal and insect spray heavily...

This post was edited by mjmarco on Mon, Mar 3, 14 at 15:57


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

Thanks for the update and the pictures! It’s good to know that your trees healed well.

I was curious how they did because I’ve got a ton of rabbit and vole damage to deal with. I’ve got about 200 apple and pear trees in a fenced-in 60’ x 60’ nursery. The trees are 1 to 4 years old, ranging in size from less than a foot to 7 feet tall, with each one wrapped with a 24” plastic vole guard. Even though the nursery is surrounded by an 8-foot polypropylene mesh deer fence fortified with a 28-inch welded wire rabbit fence, it was no match for the 2 to 5 feet of snow that’s been on the ground for most of the winter.

With the snow higher than the rabbit fence, they easily chewed through the polypropylene mesh, and, in a single night, nipped almost everything down to snow-level (about 30”). The bigger trees are missing big patches of bark, maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of the way around the trunk. Oh - and under the snow, on the smaller trees, voles skeletonized everything above - and sticking out of - the plastic guards like piranhas.

I saved what I could by wrapping what was still standing above the guards in aluminum foil, made some patches in the fence with poultry netting, and dug a trench in the snow all the way around the nursery. In the process of mending the fence (which took a few days), rabbits got in only once. They ignored all the aluminum-covered trees, and gnawed on raspberry canes instead.

Once mended, the rabbits haven’t got back in. As for the vole guards, they can only save the wood that they’re guarding. I won’t know the full extent of the damage until the snow melts. It stands at a little under 2 feet deep right now. It’s just devastating to see such damage.

Heartbreak aside, my concerns/questions are:

Will there be new growth (from the scion/variety I’m trying to grow) if there are no visible buds?
Is there anything I should do to keep disease (scab, canker, fireblight) from entering the wounds?

Good luck!


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RE: Major Rabbit Damage on Apple trees how to fix it!

  • Posted by mjmarco Zone 6 Upstate NY (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 20:03

You will have growth it just depends on how much of the girdling they did on the tree if it will survive. My trees were 10 years old and just the bark was damaged not much wood. I had just taken off the protectant cover at the base of the tree because they were so old, so I thought.

Fungal disease will come each year they could be a little different based on the weather. Scab has been the hardest with these trees...Maybe the damage effected it not sure. I' m very close to water just 10 feet is the NY
State canal so I have always had moisture problems.
My main concern was insects so I sprayed for them and never had any borers just PC and OM...Your damage sounds bad, hope you make out alright.
MD


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