We've used a plastic mesh around the trees that "buttons" up from Forestry Suppliers. Am trying to switch over to a cheaper, easier to install snap-together unit for the new trees, but I will not WILL NOT skip the 3-4" of gravel we drop at the base of the trunk, embedding the tree guard and then spread out at least 2' in diameter. Yes it's an import, yes, I pay $200 a truckload for pea gravel. Two Novembers ago my cat killed eleven voles in our 1 acre orchard in 48 hours. So far no trees have been girdled, knock on healthy applewood. I don't have enough cats to park in the new orchard. I'm buying more gravel.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
posted 6 years ago
Gravel is an often overlooked 'tool'.
It allows all of the precious rain through, does not provide habitat for gnawers, and does a decent job at weed suppression. (I know of a guy that spreads an approximate 1 foot swath under his electric fence. Only needs to 'weed-whack' once a year, instead of every week.)
@ Ann: Give that cat a special treat ! Earned its keep.
A new Mesquite that I planted outside the fence a hundred feet (or so) from my new fruit trees was suddenly covered by some sort of beetle munching the leaves. I assume these critters came up out of the root ball of this tree since it was not on any other trees. My helper squirted them off (away from the other plantings) and within a couple of days there was no sign of them.
My question is what might I do to protect my fruit trees, if they are likely in any danger, and was just using a waterspray to remove them from the mesquite likely enough to keep them from reproducing?
Patience with my ignorance is required as this new to Growies old lady tries to build a food forest in the arid high desert. Thank you for all the advice.
I haven't had that much of a problem with small critters it is the large ones that do in my trees. Did you know that a bull thinks that a seven foot apple tree makes the best belly scratcher when it is walked over? I am trying to work out ways to run stock in to keep the grass and stuff down, but I lose trees to rubbing damage more than anything. The cows don't eat too many leaves but love to scratch or rub on them. I guess I need to break down and run lots of electric fence down both sides of the trees. Sheep aren't too bad once the tree is five or six feet tall. They will probably be my choice for grass maintenance in the more densely planted areas. Goats will do anything to strip every leaf off of a tree including walking around on their hind legs and climbing larger trees.
Whip out those weird instruments of science and probe away! I think it's a tiny ad: