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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jan 15, 2014 9:20 AM CST
I'm so angry I could spit tacks! Those blankety blank rabbits have completly girdled my Dwarf Courtland apple tree. It is 8 years old! I've never had them mess with a mature tree before. I have always protected the trunks for about 4 years, then don't bother any more. I'm sure it will die, as they have chewed all of the bark down to the wood all the way around the tree.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jan 15, 2014 7:44 PM CST
Oh no! I'm so sorry Tom. Any way to wrap the trunk at this point in hopes of it surviving?
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Jan 16, 2014 10:40 AM CST
I don't think that would help. It's chewed down the the wood.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jan 16, 2014 12:16 PM CST
Dag nab rabbits! Grumbling
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Jan 16, 2014 1:49 PM CST
Oh no, that is aweful!
Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Feb 14, 2014 8:53 AM CST
Tom.

I'm probably too late for this tree, but if you ever have this happen again, it is possible to "bridge" over the girdled area. Here is one article that describes the process.

http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/Bridgegraftingandinarching.htm

For more info, Google "bridge grafting fruit tree girdled area"

David
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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tveguy3
Feb 14, 2014 10:08 AM CST
Thanks for that info! I watched a video on U tube on how to do it. Seems that if the bark is removed over more then half way around the tree trunk, that it won't work, but I might give it a try anyway. Since the tree is dormant now, and will be for a while yet, It may not be too late to try. I think I will try to graft some of the Cortland to another variety tree and at least have some fruit in a few years. I've never tryied grafting before, but was always interested. Thanks again for that information.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
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Oberon46
Feb 14, 2014 10:24 AM CST
I am sooooo sorry. Had voles do the same to me: prized tree peonies, large crabapple tree, all my azaleas. and on and on. All in one winter. And yes I lost them all. I would be having rabbit stew for sure. But a prized apple tree???? That is just to much. Eight years down the drain....Stew is too good for them.

Crying Crying Crying Crying
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Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Feb 14, 2014 12:28 PM CST
Tom,

Some of the links I found as images on Google showed lots of trees fully girdled that had the grafts all the way around. It can't hurt to try.

David
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Feb 14, 2014 7:58 PM CST
I wonder if in the winter, food is scarce for them or moisture if everything is frozen and that is why they are eating the bark. I can't imagine that bark would be the food of choice for a rabbit. If I realized when it started, I would try putting out food for them and see if they ate that instead of eating the trees? I think you might also try a live trap, I don't know if it would work to relocate a rabbit, but it might scare it enough that it wouldn't visit again. Or you could wrap some kind of wire around the first foot or so of the trunk around the ground in the fall.
Name: Franklin Troiso
Rutland, MA (Zone 5b)
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herbie43
Feb 15, 2014 7:33 AM CST
Sorry about your tree. I had no idea rabbits took the bark of trees. Are there any gun shops and shooting ranges in your area

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frank
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Feb 15, 2014 8:29 AM CST
Would you rather sacrifice a branch for a tissue donation or the whole tree?

My vote is for trying.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
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tveguy3
Feb 15, 2014 2:12 PM CST
Rabits love to chew on branches. I always wrap the trunks for the first 2 or 3 years, and then they have always left them alone. I have horses, and I feed good alfalfa, so there is always lots for them to eat, plus the horses always drop some feed on the ground that they can scavage. They just like to eat that bark it seems. I've never tried to graft before, but I will give it a try to see if I can salvage it. They took the bark off right down to the ground though, so I'm going to have to go very low for the botton of the graft. A couple of years ago we had lots of coyotes around, and the rabbits disappeared. I saw a fox here the other evening trying to get into the duck's pen, but I scared him away. Wish he would have scared the rabbits away.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Feb 15, 2014 9:39 PM CST
Tom, let us know how the grafting goes.

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