I came out to check my young orchard. One of my better grafts, a 2nd year tree got hammered pretty hard. I’m kicking myself for not putting the 4ft tall, 1/2“ Hardware mesh around it. Any possible way to save it? I think I already know the answer. It looks like the damned rodent stripped it right to the ground. The hawks need to step up their game on the rodent control. Definitely sucks to see two years of growth get destroyed.
bridge graft it this spring, both sides or all four, you have nothing to lose
sorry to see that… Two years of growth was a painstaking wait i agree. If you intend to see if it might survive and have no plans of bridge-grafting, probably best to seal with grafting wax and then wrap over with plastic sheet. Even in cold weather, exposed xylem will parch and dry up, especially if the stem is not much more than pencil-thickness
My opnion is its beyond saving. I would cut it off and regraft.
You can collect a bunch of scions from that tree into a Ziplock bag with a moist paper towel wad and put them in the fridge. Regraft the stump in the Spring by removing some soil at the base.
I lost a Fuji from damage just like that. Harvest what scions you can get and graft in the spring.
You received some very good advice. I second the cut some scions off and regraft. If the roots are doing well your new graft will do very well.
I agree with the consensus.
The established rootstock will re grow really fast, and you don’t have the uncertainty of the bridge grafting or a fugly trunk.
Thanks for the advice
Preventive measures ;
The upper new damage I likely a rabbit. Window screen can help with that.
The lower damage is likely a vole.
They love that tall grass around the trunk.
I believe voles pick their place for the winter when it starts to frost in the fall.
Mowing to the dirt with a weed eater in say October , and raking back all mulch and trimmings in a ~ 3- 4 ft circle to basically bare dirt . And mowing the rest short leaves them little cover. A bucket of the round pea gravel poured around the trunk helps, they can not maintain a tunnel in it.
Also the pvc pipe around the trunk offers them a place to hide.
Snow cover complicates all this , but I believe they like to hide in the grass under the snow, not so much bare ground under snow.
You may find they have ate the root bark as well.
Perches for raptors a plus.
I am not saying I don’t have grass around my apple trees, i do.
But usually where I find damage, it’s because I was to lazy to remove the habitat of voles.
I feel your pain, it’s always something .if it was easy everyone would do it.
Do you find window screen works better than hardware mesh? Would you staple the window screen together on a wooden stake? In regards to weed control, I want to use herbicide against the grasses with one of those weed wick things. I’m just concerned that the herbicide would also kill my young trees.
I make hardware cloth cylinders about 2 feet tall (not much snow here). Then I put them on the trunk and close them by wiring them shut with flexible wire and only one or two twists, so they’re easy to take off to paint the trunks white every couple of years to prevent sun damage. So I suggest making them easy to remove if you ever plan to paint trunks.
I use zip ties to secure hardware mesh to a post. Was wondering if window screens were better than hardware mesh to use for young trees?
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“Do you find window screen works better than hardware mesh?”
Either one will work, forming into a tube shape an crimping the end, or small wire works , like hambone says make them easy to remove.
I try to avoid added stakes / fasteners , make it easy.
For weed control I like cardboard mulch around young trees.
I put several layers down and just enough hay / etc. on it to keep it from blowing away. Make slits in the card board and slide several pieces from different directions around trunk until all weeds are covered
Easily removed in the fall. Can look messy.
The danger with herbicides especially on young trees is spray drift,and even with a wick application if you get it on an unseen root sucker.
A wick applicator can be made with a crooked stick ( like a hockey stick), with old rags and a sock tied on the end, wet with round up from a squirt bottle , not so much that it drips, I try to avoid herbicides. Be very careful
I used window screen for a few years, mainly for borer control but it did double duty. But I find hardware cloth easier (I went to paint for borers). I like being able to push it into the ground and can make it whatever size I want (wider for bushes). Plus I like being able to see the trunks. Sometimes I tie the sides together with soft wire (usually coated telephone wire), or If I’ve rolled/cut it that way just jam the cut ends into the other side and bend a couple wires to keep it shut. Lately I’ve been making the tube such that it overlaps tight enough that no tie is needed - much easier to remove.
The one problem I’ve had is with some small whippy seedlings rubbing against the top of the wire so I made a simple “harness” with cord through the wire to keep the little trunk away from the edge until it’s larger/sturdier. I use 1/2" hdwr cloth, 24" unless it needs to be shorter due to low branches. Never had any damage inside (and we had major vole population last year - anything not protected got eaten). Sue