I was hit by rodent/rabbit damage for the first time. I’m sad that it happened but also grateful that it only hit two year old saplings. My question for those with experience is, how likely are they to recover? One took about 50% and the other about 35%. Is a bridge graft viable on such young trees or am I better of starting from scratch?
As long as they did not nibble a ring all the way around your tree, then you should be fine. Just protect the remaining bark with hardware cloth ASAP so that they do not finish the job.
Rabbits do that?
I’m amazed that this is the first time I’ve been hit. I’ve had my trunks painted, the brush is nowhere near them, and I’ve been relying on repellants. That seemed to work up till now. Glad the consensus is that the trees will recover. Seems like a grievous wound for the one.
That’s the assumption. Deer tend to be my main issue but I’ve been lax on my repellant application since they are caged off from deer. That seems to be the opening the rabbits were waiting for.
Yeah, I’d count on those recovering and doing just fine, down the road, provided they don’t sustain more damage. I was wondering if you had a porcupine, or something!
Early in my career, I’d have been inclined to wrap those lesions with parafilm and a covering of aluminum foil, in the event that there might be some residual islands of cambium tissue that might survive and help in speeding up overgrowth of that wound. Probably would even give that a shot now. If it didn’t progress to my satisfaction, I’d probably have resorted to trying some bridge grafts with some long scions… I’ve pulled low branches up and bridged total girdles on pecan with good success, and have one that got damaged 3 years ago that I’m probably gonna plant 2 or 3 1-yr seedlings next to and do some inarch grafting in a year or so.
Thankfully no porcupines in my area (I have a border collie and she is dumb enough to end up on the wrong end of one of those). Bunnies, skunk, racoon, deer, possum…the usual suspects as far as fruit is considered. I’ll give them the next growing season and reevaluate then. The responses here have ignited hope in my so I’m going to run with it. Hopefully I’ve done/ will do enough to dissuade further damage. Yearling whips seem like they would be tough to do a bridge on but since I’ve never done a bridge I suppose any seems hard for now.
Put some hot pepper spray on the trees. Plus some trunk protectors around them. I have some recent damage to one of my trees and I still cannot figure out what critter(s) are responsible. I sprayed the branches and trunk with hot pepper spray. So far no more damage.
I lost over 50% of my trees last year to rabbit damage. Devastated!
I would wrap every tree with tree protectors and paint the tree with latex paint mixed with castor oil. You can add a colorant so that the tree is the right color. Winter is coming soon and rabbits will only get more ravenous.
I ended up wrapping each tree in hardware cloth after doing two coats of watered down latex paint. The first was water and paint. The second layer I used repellant instead of water in hopes that as it breaks down it will put off a faint repellant stink. May be overkill but better than losing trees to varmints.