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vole damaged apple tree worth saving?

Posted by jimfnc 7aNC (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 22, 12 at 11:17

I had a 4 yr tree (I planted a bare root 4 yrs ago), voles have chewed enough roots for it to fall over. Still has some roots in the ground, not totally cut off.
Assuming I can eradicate or minimize the voles, is the tree worth staking up? Trunk almost 3 inches dia, but does not appear to have good root system.
This is in a group of 3 apples so not sure others not damaged. I had a prev post a month ago about possibly replanting these with a better soil mix (raise bed) in late winter for my hard dry clay conditions.
The trees have no leaves, we've been in mid-upper 30's lately at night, few freezes (which is warm for us), so are they dormant?
Considering starting over.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: vole damaged apple tree worth saving?

I guess it depends on how badly you want the tree. It is not outside the realm of possible that the tree could restore itself. On the other hand, it will need staking, watering during dry spells, and lots of TLC.

To keep this from happening, orchardists around here put a collar of pea stone around the base of their trees about a foot in dia. and 3-4 inches deep.

RE: vole damaged apple tree worth saving?

That is the work of pine voles - the subterranian monsters of mousehood. Pea stone won't really prevent this animal from doing this and baiting or trapping must be done in fall to kill them. I'm told this is the only time they come above ground to feed and I know from trapping them that it is a time they come up. I believe pea stone is to discourage meadow voles as pine voles work well below a few inches deep as you've found out.

Hard to say if it's worth trying to save. Partially depends on how much room you have. You can wait until spring to see if there is enough root to generate reasonable vigor- if so it may eventually recover, but probably not as well as a new tree. Remove the flowers and cut back spur wood if you intend to give it a chance.

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