Can I save these trees

another_buffalo(6)January 24, 2013

I'm really bummed.... early last summer, I planted three fruit trees, apple, plum and peach. I went out to prune them yesterday and found that rabbits or something had been chewing the bark at the base of the trees which I had neglected to protect. Are they gonners, or can I save them? What kind of treatment would you recommend?

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You can do bridge or inarch grafting, as illustrated in the link below.
I have done bridge grafting on a couple of pecans that had girdling damage about 4 ft above ground level, using branches from below the girdled area, spliced in to the bark at the top of the girdled strip., and it worked well - though there will be a noticeable abnormality in the trunk, as the tree grows - but it should be fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bridge/Inarch grafting.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:27PM
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If the are completely girdled then they are dead. You can try to rescue by cutting a piece of bark off above and fit it to part of the girdling on another side of the tree from where you took the graft. If you do a good job of matching the cambium layer up on both sides and the graft takes the tree will survive. If a piece of bark is unavailable then fitting several branches bridging the gap has been known to work. Nothing to lose.

If not completely girdled then probably survives.

Protect by wrapping chicken wire or a tight mesh hardware cloth (preferred) loosely around the trunk.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 3:59PM
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thank you both for the help.....
I checked out the link, Lucky and saw this information:
Partially or completely girdled trees should be protected to prevent drying out of the wood by covering the wound with grafting wax or a water-base asphalt emulsion or asphaltum material. The protection may also help prevent small pieces of remaining living bark from drying out which may then heal, thus helping the tree to survive. Do not use roofing tar, oil base paints or other oil-based products as they will only injure the tree further.

I stopped off at Lowes this afternoon to get material to cover the trunks of the little trees. I also bought some Spectracide pruning seal. I do not see anywhere on the label that says if it is water or oil based. I'll wait to use it until I have more information.

Looks like I'll be ordering more firewood this week. My friend who I get it from is one of the finest arborists in the state. I bet he can tell me if the trees are gonners and maybe help save them.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:57PM
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My arborist friend checked out my fruit trees.....
One is most likely a gonner, three others MIGHT make it. His recommendation was to protect the trees from further damage and let nature work its wonders. He did not recommend using the pruning seal and liked that the wrap I had purchased was 'breathable'. Now only time will tell which trees survive.

The wrapping I had purchased for a couple of dollars plus a few minutes of my time could have saved all this damage.

It is a good lesson learned. I'm ordering new trees for this season.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Hopefully the damage was done above graft and new shoots/branches will emerge, then cut dead tree above.
Most likely the tree/trees are not dead, they will rise from below, [root stock] let it grow as is for a pollinator, [ornamental] or graft on it a couple of years later, make them as experimental grafting trees,...if room is not a issue.
They will grow very quickly from below and in no time you have a tree, you might have to prune it into a tree.

Bridge grafting only works when the top is still green and hasn't dried up. I found rodent damage in winter and the time when sap flows, [May here] can be a half year or more, by then the top is dried up.

If you can catch the damage on time, then sealing it with a water based Doc Farwell's..[in thread below] it will help from drying up and wounds heal in faster.

Here is a link that might be useful: Konrad's modified bark grafting

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 1:28AM
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Thank you for that, Konrad.... Having root stock would be a blessing. Learning to graft may be more of a problem, but I'm studying your pics in the link. Successful or not, it will be a learning experiance.

Still hoping nature can save my trees

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Put up a hawk perch in your orchard... helps with rabbits and birds!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 5:46PM
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