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ALMOST BEEKEEPING - RELATED TOPICS => FARMING & COUNTRY LIFE => Topic started by: jvalentour on March 24, 2017, 02:38:27 pm

Title: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: jvalentour on March 24, 2017, 02:38:27 pm
We were cleaning up the orchard last weekend, pruning, weeding, and general cleanup and discovered that mice had burrowed under the mulch and girdled about 1/3 of the apple trees.  Some of the roots had been so badly chewed that you could pull the tree out of the ground with one hand.  The root looked like a carrot. 
We could see the tunnels the mice had used to get to the trees, otherwise they looked perfectly healthy.  Beautiful buds swelling up and getting ready to pop open any time.  The damage was mostly to trees we planted 3 years ago.  All of the trees had a 6' anti-deer fence circling it and a 12" plastic barrier to prevent rabbits from chewing the bark. 
So we will replant and propagate some of the plants and see what happens. 
Such a disappointment.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: bwallace23350 on March 24, 2017, 04:59:49 pm
That sucks. You don't think with heavy watering that the trees could make it?
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Acebird on March 24, 2017, 05:32:20 pm
That bites ... Sounds like you could use some feral cats.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: minz on March 24, 2017, 08:32:27 pm
Don?t write them off! Get out there and bridge the bark of the tree, they only need a little bit to get the moisture up to the top.
Google Bridge grafting. 
I was just checking my grafts yesterday so you may be about 2 weeks late but see if you can find a tree in the shade of another tree or the north side of the hill and get out there and save those. All you have to lose is an hour of reading (or now U-tube), and half hour of grafting. 
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Rurification on March 26, 2017, 09:00:54 am
Ouch!    We deal with deer, rabbits and cats scratching the trees to bits.  Would never have occurred to me that mice could be a problem.   
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: divemaster1963 on March 26, 2017, 03:39:25 pm
My out yard is on a fruit tree orchard and with the middle winter we had they all buded out then we had four nights of hard freezing in begining of march and killed all the buds. It's going to be  a ruff harvest. the only saving grace is that the clover he has in the field is blooming and did not get hurt.

john
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: jvalentour on March 26, 2017, 09:31:02 pm
Minz,
Thanks for the advice. 
I did google bridge grafting, I don't think it will work in this case. 
I'll try to upload images.

They were girdled about one foot above the graft to all the roots below the graft. 
Some trees have roots attached still.  I put Deer Away to stink up the orchard.  Gotten plenty of rain but I doubt they will make it when it gets hot.  Going to propagate what I can.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Acebird on March 27, 2017, 08:34:26 am
That is from mice?
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: GSF on March 30, 2017, 02:14:59 pm
Although it's pretty popular one of the worse things you can do is pile mulch or whatever right against the trunk. You may have had it different. I use mulch but I keep it away from the trunk of the tree.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: minz on March 30, 2017, 06:30:47 pm
My guess is freaking rabbits! I built some rabbit traps from the nursery guys trap they let me copy. Here in Oregon they are considered vermin, no limits, no season. Kill them until you can not stand it anymore.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: herbhome on March 30, 2017, 06:51:51 pm
Rabbits are bad to girdle young trees, but mice and field rats will get em also. Not to mention woodchucks, moles any kind of rodent. I really feel for you, been there. :angry:
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: bwallace23350 on March 31, 2017, 09:36:39 am
My out yard is on a fruit tree orchard and with the middle winter we had they all buded out then we had four nights of hard freezing in begining of march and killed all the buds. It's going to be  a ruff harvest. the only saving grace is that the clover he has in the field is blooming and did not get hurt.

john

I am in the same boat as you there. Blueberries were hurt a little. My figs and pomegranates are all gone.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: bwallace23350 on March 31, 2017, 09:37:30 am
Although it's pretty popular one of the worse things you can do is pile mulch or whatever right against the trunk. You may have had it different. I use mulch but I keep it away from the trunk of the tree.

Yep putting mulch right up around a base of a tree is one of the biggest mistakes one can make when mulching. I am not saying I am perfect on it as often times the mulch gets shifted for some reason or another or I just get lazy.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: jvalentour on March 31, 2017, 02:56:05 pm
I put 4" corrigated plastic pipe around my trees.  Mulch never touched to trunk.  If you look at the images you can see they ate to the top of the pipe.  They were completely safe from predators. 
This season I plan to wrap the trunks with something else and discard the 4" pipe.  Any suggestions?  I know there are paper and plastic products out there to wrap with. 
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Maggiesdad on April 02, 2017, 12:14:31 pm
j I have the same problem here in Central VA... I'm ringing the trees out 2' or 3' with daffodils, narcissus and garlic chives. So far so good. Plus it looks purty! The garlic chives make a solid mat of roots, that they don't burrow through. Plus they are a great late season bloom for the bees. Last season they worked them from early morning to dusk, while they pull off my buckwheat plantings at noon.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: CrazyTalk on April 05, 2017, 04:51:47 pm
j I have the same problem here in Central VA... I'm ringing the trees out 2' or 3' with daffodils, narcissus and garlic chives. So far so good. Plus it looks purty! The garlic chives make a solid mat of roots, that they don't burrow through. Plus they are a great late season bloom for the bees. Last season they worked them from early morning to dusk, while they pull off my buckwheat plantings at noon.

That's what I do (daffodils - although I'm not sure whether it actually makes a difference) - it seems to be a big problem with first year trees. I've had less of a problem since I've added poultry to the yard. Chickens and ducks love them some rodents. My first spring I could basically pull half my peach trees out of the ground by hand.

I think it's largely voles that do this. I also started putting rings of hardware cloth (1/4") from about 6" deep to about 6" off the ground around young trees.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Acebird on April 05, 2017, 08:51:02 pm
Feral cats will keep your trees safe.  Just don't feed them too much so they stay around but hungry.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: minz on April 08, 2017, 01:09:47 am
I had a couple of apricots that I lost a couple of years ago and cut the tops off.  Today I went out in the orchard and cut the bushes back to one or two nice limbs each. I was thinking of going to the local nursery and cutting 6? off of one of their trees (I only need about 4 or 5 buds). I may have to wait until the end of summer.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Eric Bosworth on June 18, 2017, 11:07:13 pm
You need a hungry Fe-lion. My wife's cat would never let that happen... We even feed her well. Unfortunately she has a bad habit of bringing them in the dog door and leaving guts on the floor.

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Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: jvalentour on December 05, 2017, 10:07:58 pm
I have decided to let the feral cats live on my property, I usually shoot them.  Perhaps they will eat more voles and mice.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: minz on December 09, 2017, 07:46:53 pm
neither of my apricots took. Had a great take on apples and pears.
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: sawdstmakr on December 10, 2017, 08:46:51 am
You need a hungry Fe-lion. My wife's cat would never let that happen... We even feed her well. Unfortunately she has a bad habit of bringing them in the dog door and leaving guts on the floor.

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Eric
My cats used to bring in frogs alive and let them loose. My wife trained our dog to catch them and take them outside.
More recently we had a cat that would bring in live snakes and turn them loose. Luckily none of them were poisonous. We used to have snakes back in the 80s so my wife had no problems catching them and getting them out of the house.

J, I feel your pain. We plant 9 pecan trees at the farm 10 years ago and only 2 survived and never really grew much. We plan on moving them to our orchard to give them a better chance.
Jim
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Michael Bush on December 11, 2017, 04:08:47 pm
Mice, rabbets and deer are very destructive to young trees...
Title: Re: Disappointment in the orchard
Post by: Dallasbeek on December 12, 2017, 12:16:55 pm
 Add dogs to that list.  Labs, for one breed, will gnaw a young tree to the ground