First problems on mixed orchard

Late in November 2020 I’ve planted about 200 trees (1 & 2 y/o trees). 140+ cherry (early varieties), +/- 30 plums (late varieties) including pluots, 30 apricots (early varieties). Most cherry & apricot trees were 2 y/o.
I’m new to cherries, plums and apricots (I grow apple & pear)
–I’ve had multiple mouse and rabbit attacks. So far I’ve only used repellants (anti-rodent paint and many other methods n tricks that didn’t help much) so next time I’ve decided that the best way to protect young trees is mechanically (to wrap them around with a net or other material).

I’ve now decided to prune the trees because alot of them are still dormant for some reason.
Besides watering, is there anything else I should do to maximize the trees survival?

Ouch, sorry to see all the damage others may have better ideas on effective ways to wrap them but I would atleast apply a moderate dose of nitrogen iron and kelp and any micronutrients you may be low on. If you have a mix I would go ahead and use that.

Maybe there is something you can do for the damage spray wise also and you may need to prune a lot of that damage out.

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You might be alright. I have seen my cherries recover from some pretty serious buck rubs. Corrugated pipe is pretty cheap. Just cut to size, cut length wise and slide over trunk. That will not do much for mice, but will protect you from larger animals.

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Some of those trees look like the buck rubbed all the way around. Those trees are not going to get any nutrients higher up, the top is all going to die. Hopefully they will sprout from above the graft. You need to get some deer fencing on those trees for next fall’s crop of bucks.

I lost an apple last fall due to deer rubs. I had taken the fencing off thinking the tree was big enough but I was a year or two early! It is sprouting right above the graft though so it will grow back in a few years.


I haven’t seen deer in my area in the last 8 years. The rabbits on the other hand are thriving like never before, I see them quite often even during the day. Unfortunately I don’t have the means to take them out, but I’m working on it.


The problem with starting with a wholesale amount of trees at once is that when something goes wrong, it goes wrong on that much larger scale.

Here we have voles and rabbits. I learned early on that a tree cannot exist without having a chicken wire or similar protection around the trunk. Fail that it could take a year, or two, or five, but eventually voles would have a bumper year and eat the bark off the tree. Once you get that lesson drilled in you would not dare plant more trees than you could protect with said wire.

Same thing with moose; If you don’t cage it may as well cut it down and give it to the nearest moose, he’ll get it eventually anyways.

Take sun scald, were people still debate whether or not it is a thing. For us up here in Alaska it is certainly a thing. Often we have a melt down in the middle of the winter followed by sub 0 temperatures. That alone can kill trees; they wake up enough to lose dormancy just when they are about to need it the most. In adition warm day, warm sun, leads to the bark loosing dormancy faster and prone to sun scald damage.

Bottom line; not knowing what we don’t know hurts a lot less when we start small and thus have less to lose. If I were you I would find a fruit growers association and befriend fellow orchardists. I have learned a lot from walking other people’s fields and asking tons of questions.

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That doesn’t look like rabbit damage, rabbits start at the ground and eat down to the wood. It looks like rubbing damage. Maybe wild boar? I see you are in Ukraine, I’m not sure what wild animals are around there.

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As far as I’m aware wild rabbits (or hare) are the only animals that inhabit my area (2 miles from the city).

Download the picture, zoom in and take a close look at the damage. You can see gnaw marks perpendicular to the trunk. Hard to tell from the photo how high they are from the ground, but it could be rabbits.


Rabbits in europe are historically more vicious and capable. Please watch this re-enactment for better understanding


Fabulous! Run away!!! :smiley: