Well, I hate to reply to this thread, but I now have experienced the angst of tree girdling. I only noticed today, because I don’t think I’ve looked after my trees the last couple days.
These two were the Suncrisp and Macoun apples. Both had their bark exposed because I had pull the wire cages open a bit to let them spread out. The SC had another cage that had been covering the opening, but it had either blown down the hill or was pushed off.
I suspect rabbits as I have seen them in the area at night. I don’t think it’s vole damage as they aren’t prevalent here, and they could have easily crawled through the 1x 2" openings in the fencing.
There were also two other apple, three pear and one peach tree that had exposed lower trunks that weren’t damaged, so I put some corrugated plastic tubes on them today. All my other trees are behind caging.
Here are some pics of the Macoun. It looks bad but it is not totally girdled. The last pic shows the undamaged area along the rootstock and lower scion. I’m guessing it has about 40-45% good bark left. The stuff growing off the rootstock is burr knots.
Here is the Suncrisp, quite the gruesome sight. It looks like it’s totally girdled except for a small sliver of good bark.
Is the Macoun toast or does it have enough bark to survive? It was planted three years ago.
The Suncrisp looks like a goner, but could it maybe be saved with some bridge grafting? It has enough scion wood up top for the grafts, but was wondering if it’s possible or worth it. It was planted two years ago.
Ironically last year I did a three bench grafts and one of them was a Suncrisp, so if this one can’t be saved, the newer one can replace it, but it will probably be 4 years before it’s producing. This damaged tree maybe would’ve been producing next year.
If I can do bridge grafts when would be the best time to do it? And what should I do with the damage now? Seal it off with something?
This is so aggravating as my main pest was and is deer, so while I’ve kept them at bay with the fencing, I totally disregarded the freaking rabbits. I have some blackberry cane damage down low and assumed it was deer but now suspect rabbits.