A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some small patches of bark nibbled off the trunks of my inch or so diameter fruit tree trunks I planted last spring.
I had previously installed plastic trunk wrap up to about a foot in late fall, and the damage was above the trunk wrap, to about 18" or so. I thought maybe the little cottontails or jackrabbits were standing on their back legs to get to the bark. So I wrapped the trunks up to about 20" and didn't see anymore damage.
I didn't go out and check anything for about a week, and when I went out last Saturday, I found the following:
20 small (18") Austrian Pines either eaten to the ground or
stripped of pine needles and branches.
All 11 of my spring planted fruit trees girdled of bark up to about 50% on the trunks, with branches completely chewed
off 2 feet up the tree.
12ft of spring planted Nanking Cherries cut off at the ground.
I live in a 7000ft Pinion/Juniper habitat, I wouldn't think
Porkies would be very common here. I did see a dead Porkie on a country road here about a year ago. What else would eat
a pine tree?
I now have a previously deactivated electic fence turned back on about 12" to 18" above ground level, and I haven't
seen anymore damage in the last two days.
I assume the pines are toast, but what about the fruit trees? I covered the bark eaten spots with tape (breathable Vet tape for animal wounds), should I paint them with something or just let them try to recover on their own?