How big does apple have to be to remove rodent guards?

jayco(5b NY)May 18, 2013

Planted a Goldrush whip in 2008; it's about 15 ft tall now with approx 2.5" caliper. How long do I need to keep its trunk wrapped (chicken wire) to ward off chewing mammals?

Also while I'm at it, the tree appears to be setting a lot of fruit this year. Last year we got 4 apples. How many fruits would you think it would be ok to let it bear this year?


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franktank232(z5 WI)

I have an evil rabbit (now dead) who loved to chew on young trees. It seems that he didn't care for even 2 or 3 year old least in my case i think 2 growing seasons should be fine. Not sure about voles, haven't had any issues with them the past it was always very young trees they would chew...i killed most of them so i haven't had many issues with them lately.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 5:50PM
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alan haigh

There isn't a definitive answer as voles will sometimes badly damage even older trees- seen damage on 20 year old trees. But this is mostly in uncontrolled meadow situations.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 5:55PM
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jayco(5b NY)

20 year old trees??!! Criminey! Guess I'll be leaving the guard on for now....

What about letting it bear fruit? How many apples would you think I could allow?


    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Harvestman, I'm wondering why voles would be worse in an "uncontrolled meadow situation" and what I might be able to do to make my orchard less like that. The only difference I can think of is tall grass. Are you saying tall grass leads to more voles and vole problems?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:14PM
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alan haigh

Mulched trees in seldom mowed meadows often become vole condominiums. I also have problems with shallow light soils over rock, next to oak woods, with pine voles- the eastern version of a gopher as far as eating roots.

Meadows provide cover from predators for voles (or so I've read), much like snow, and mowing is proscribed by Cornell and others to discourage them from occupying orchard land. The trick is to mow in early fall, well before first snow, to give predators a nice "trout in a barrel" opportunity. I don't know if the voles actually move to greener pastures or just get eliminated altogether.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 5:38AM
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