Rabbits chewing fruit tree bark

Flatland

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The rabbits have discovered my new orchard and have started chewing on the bark of the plum trees. I have sprayed the wounds and the rest of the trunk with steri-prune, a bitumen spray paint. My thinking was it will help to heal the wounds and hopefully the bitumen taste will deter the rabbits from more chewing. Has anyone got any other ideas
 

Silver Egg

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in the big orchards here, they leave the clippings from pruning the trees on the ground so they eat that, instead of the bark from the tree. And you can put some flexible plastic protection around the tree stump, it just does not look very nice. I woud avoid chicken wire, because it tends to grow into the bark if you forget about it
 

Flatland

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I like the idea of leaving clippings out for them. Not so happy about putting "stuff" around the trunks. Rabbits can be a big problem in this area.
 

ClissAT

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Yes I also have heard of chicken wire being the only true method of preventing them eating the bark.
The prunings idea sounds good but what do they eat once the prunnings are finished?
 

Flatland

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I've had chicken wire grow into trees that I protected. So if I use that method I will have to keep an eye on it. At the moment they haven't come back for any more so maybe the bitumen paint is working. There is a stuff that horsey people use on wooden rails to stop horses chewing. It is a hot pepper base. I wonder if that would work and if it would harm a living tree
 

ClissAT

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I think if you cut the wire long enough to allow you to make the collar larger say twice a year, it would only be 2yrs until the bark was too tough for rabbits to be worried about.
As for the horse rail stuff, I don't know anything about it.
But I do know that horses chew bark to get the copper from it.
Same for CCA treated coppers logs, they are going for the copper but also get a goodly dose of arsenic along with it unfortunately.
 

Flatland

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That's a good idea about cutting the wire long to leave room for expansion. I'll keep an eye on the bark and if the rabbits come back I'll try that.
I think a lot of horses chew rails because they are bored out of their heads in stables waiting for their next "meal". Horses' stomachs are designed to have food going through something like 18hours a day, so they have lots of troubles when they are only fed 2 meals a day.
But that is a whole different story to my rabbits.
 

Flatland

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The B's have come back & I didn't have any chicken wire to wrap around the trunk so I wrapped an old feed bag around hoping that will confuse them tonight & I will buy some chicken wire tomorrow. It's a pity I have all these childhood memories of pet rabbits. I'm sure it would be easier if I didn't think of my soft cuddly pets
 

Flatland

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My fruit trees are all protected now. I ended up using hard plastic netting which I had forgotten I had in the shed. I had been given it. I think it is designed to be trellising. Anyway it seems to be keeping the furies at bay
 
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