DIY Light-duty, self-anchoring tree cages

Here are some easy to make tree cages when you only need a deterrent level of protection from rabbits or groundhogs. I was making a couple of these today before winter and twig-hungry rabbits descend upon my garden, and wanted to share my process.

Don’t be like me, wear gloves. Those cut ends are sharp!

Start with 1" welded wire fencing, twice the height of what you want for your finished cages. Alternatively, you can make a taller cage by skipping the cut in half step and securing with a post. Here, I’m using 24". Figure out how much you need to make circle of the desired size and flatten that section as best you can. Using wire cutters or pliers, cut to length, leaving a full square’s width wire tag on the section you’re using. Place your cutters as close to flush as you can with the waste end to achieve this.

Next, take those tag ends and bend them all down slightly, except for the ones on each end, two in the middle, and the 1/4 marks. Bend those remaining wires upward. This is optional, but serves as a visual reminder later.

Next, we’ll cut the wire panel to make two cages. Find your middle row and cut every other wire all the way on the right side, as flush as possible. When you reach the end, cut the remaining alternate wires on the other side. I find it easiest to spin the panel around and cut on the right again. When all the wires are cut, pull the two pieces apart. You should have alternating wires all along the cut edge. These will serve to anchor your cages.

Now, carefully roll up your cages. Keep the alternating wire edge at the bottom, and make sure your downward pointed wires from the first cutting step are on the inside. Once you have it rolled to shape, overlap by one square with the cut wire end on top. Your downward pointed wires should lock in to the neighboring squares. Use needlenose pliers to wrap your upward pointing wires around the other end of the panel to lock the cage together.

Your cage is complete! Put it around the tree or bush you want to protect, pointy end down. For more robust protection, wire it to a u post.


That’s almost exactly what I use, but mine are 4 foot. I keep them on the trees long after to stop buck rubs as well.


How deep does your snow get? Do you have deer?

1 Like

I definitely wouldn’t count on this for deer. As it says in the title, this is a light duty design. I mostly have to worry about curious bunnies sampling young trees and shrubs and severing them at the base. This level of protection is more than adequate for that. I keep the snow packed down around the cages. Even if I forget, it’s just a few branches getting nibbles instead of the whole trunk. This system has been working well for me for 4 years now. When the trees size up, I remove the cages.

If you want wider cages, use a longer stretch. If you want taller, buy a taller roll or just cut the bottom wire off. If you want it sturdier, add a post.