I feel sick. I went out to have a look around since there is snow melt and my 2 young apricots and one Asian pear have taken heavy bunny damage.
I just forgot about putting the guards on since they have never bothered any of the fruit trees before. (Except the kiwi, they love those but my makeshift guards for those seemed to have helped at least a little this year)
I’m just wondering if anyone knows if there is much hope of survival with this level of damage or should I just take the hit and see if I can still get replacements for this year.
To be honest it’s heartbreaking seeing how the bunnies tore into the cambium on your young trees. It happened to me last winter and it was a difficult lesson to learn. The damage is pretty severe from what I can tell so… I’d let them go and watch what happens in the coming months.
Oh dear, that does not look good, I am sorry to see this. Last spring I had to take out 15 apple trees that were girdled by mice, voles or possibly rabbits, it is heartbreaking.
See how they left some near the snow line, cut them down to there and regraft the new shoots next year that will hopefully come up from the roots. When they are as bad as the one in the middle they will die. If you lose half the cambium they are usually done for.
The middle pic looks as if it girdled all the way around but the top and bottom pic look like there is hope.
So, I got a pair of replacement trees last year.
They were planted and kept watered through the dry summer. They seemed fine and I put the guard tubes on for the winter.
I just went out to check and while the guards stopped the girdling, we had deep snow and their entire tops have been eaten!
Basically, they are now 4’+ straight sticks.
I expect they have decent root systems and the main trunks are fine but I’m not sure what they will do from here.
Any ideas on what to expect? I’m feeling about ready to give up on apricots since this means yet another year without a partner for my older Scout.
Prune the badly damaged limbs. So the tree can put energy into new growth rather than wasting energy trying to heal damage.
Then fence it for the future.
I put a 3’ diameter rabit/deer fence 6’ high around every tree.