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Author Topic: Disappointment in the orchard  (Read 484 times)

Offline jvalentour

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Disappointment in the orchard
« 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.

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2017, 04:59:49 PM »
That sucks. You don't think with heavy watering that the trees could make it?

Offline Acebird

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2017, 05:32:20 PM »
That bites ... Sounds like you could use some feral cats.
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Offline minz

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #3 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. 
Poor decisions make the best stories.

Offline Rurification

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #4 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.   
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #5 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

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #6 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.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 08:34:26 AM »
That is from mice?
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Offline GSF

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #8 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.
When the law no longer protects you from the corrupt, but protects the corrupt from you - then you know your nation is doomed.

Offline minz

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #9 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.
Poor decisions make the best stories.

Offline herbhome

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #10 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:

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #11 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.

Offline bwallace23350

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #12 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.

Offline jvalentour

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #13 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. 

Offline Maggiesdad

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #14 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.

Offline CrazyTalk

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #15 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.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #16 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.
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Offline minz

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #17 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.
Poor decisions make the best stories.

Offline Eric Bosworth

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Re: Disappointment in the orchard
« Reply #18 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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