Is it ok to paint fruit trees with pruning sealer to keep the rabbits away?

Rabbits have ruined half of my trees this summer I need something to deter them.

That’s a neat idea and I wonder myself what people will say about using pruning sealer for rabbits, voles, rats, etc. My system certainly isn’t original or especially clever, but I buy that flexible, black, corrugated black pipe that people often use for underground drains. ITs available at lowes/home depot pretty cheap overall. I cut it into 1 to 2.5 foot sections, then slice it longways from top to bottom, then pull it apart to get around the tree trunk. It goes back together immediately. This has also saved my trees when I bump them with the lawnmower or weed-eater. Others use hardware cloth. ANd, of course, they make commercial tree-wraps for this purpose. I’m last one to offer advice since I’m a newbie in training myself, but I thought I’d mention a few things I’ve learned from others. Honestly, with what I pay for pruning sealer I think my homemade pipe pieces are actually cheaper than if I coated the lower 3.5 feel with my asphalt pruning sealer. Good luck, though.

Sub sonic .22 at dusk or early daylight. Works on tree rats too.


I use the same product as Cityman with 100% success rate. But don’t use it on peach trees, because it
will hide borer damage.

As of now I haven’t had anything chewing on my plants but I am considering using a section of the black drainage pipe so I won’t have to be as careful using my weedeater. Thanks for the suggestion cityman and rayrose. Bill

Ray, if you plugged the top you might be able to get both borer protection and rabbit protection in one package. Borers need to fly to the base to lay eggs.

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Rabbits destroyed a bunch of my trees it was very disappointing after all the work I put into them.

Scott that’s a lot of plugging to do and you’d also have to seal the base. If a borer ever
got in there, you’d never know it, until it was too late. It’s much easier not to use the
piping. Then you can inspect your trees, whenever you want. I only spray once for
borers and that does the trick. I’ve never had rabbits attack a peach tree, but they sure
love apple trees.

Or wrap them in chicken wire.

Here is a summary of what I used:

My first winter I had a couple trees girdled by voles/rabbits. Since then I have painted my trunks to good effect. I tried 3 mixtures.

Pure interior acrylic/latex water based paint, 1/2 interior acrylic/latex water based paint:1/2 water. 1/3 interior acrylic/latex water based paint:1/3 general purpose gyprock joint compound:1/3 water.

The 100% paint caused some bark die back, I think because it was totally impermeable and the bark rotted.

The 50:50 paint:water brushed on very thin and lasted only 1 year before chipping and flaking.

The 1/3:1/3:1/3 mixture worked great. Good consistency to paint on in decent thickness, no real die back so I think it is a bit more permeable letting the bark breath some and the critters really don’t like the taste and protected me from sun scald too. So far it seems to be standing up better durability wise as well.

Hope this helps someone.

P.S. In case you missed it I have updated my “My Backyard planting experience (so far) - Zone 4a/b Quebec” post with a 2014 year summary review for my northern fruit experience thus far.


Glad you are here.

Sounds excellent to me. I have double duty circles of thick small gauge plastic (thick) netting, then surround by another circle of chicken wire. It has worked well, until last winter when the snow rose above the two feet of chicken wire and the rabbits and deer could strip bark from two feet and up! The trees were salvageable. The plastic tubing you’re talking about would work well until the trunks really grew larger.

I use pruning seal but once in awhile I get a rabbit that eats through it. Make sure you keep the pruning seal fresh and they dislike it more. Another favorite trick is leave some distractions to gage how bad they are. I use elm for that and cut them off after a year or two and push new growth for rabbits. They target that stuff first before my pears with pruning seal. When you see something like the picture below you better step up your game

Leave them food and cover away from your orchard to draw them away from you’re fruit trees. I feel blessed this year as I was running out of distractions when it finally warmed up. They were very bad this year. Winter started with hundreds of them. Predators such as coyote, bobcat, hawks, owls all reduced their numbers. I’m down to 1 very clever resident rabbit who very little stops. When he sees me he hides at the neighbors until he sees me leave.