Question Young apple tree trunk attacked

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Ash, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    I have just paid a visit to an acreage I am working on with the weather being pleasant here in early winter. I got a nasty surprise when I saw these scenes on four of my six young apple trees:


    According to those who have been living there for the past few years, they know there are wild roos, foxes and hares that frequent the property. A magpie also visits because it gets bread fed to it by them. I cannot identify the offending animal that gnawed at the trunks of the sweet apple variety trees I planted a few weeks ago. They left the grannies pretty much alone, so they obviously had good taste.

    Now for the first time I have a greater appreciation for the use of fire arms. Would anyone have an idea which animal would be the most likely culprit to do such a thing? I hadn't considered it before but I now have to source out a decent mesh barrier to protect these unfortunate trees. Do you think they will survive at this point?
     
  2. Ken W.

    Ken W. Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I know the feeling Ash. We've lost the battle with roos and rabbits here in the paddocks furthest from the house. They've gnawed their way through all types of trees. Given the height they've reached on yours I'd be inclined to think the roos are your culprits however rabbits will bend the saplings but in those cases we've usually had the trunks snap at the base. I've used 44 gal drums supported by a couple of star posts to protect some shade trees as a cheap but not so aesthetically pleasing solution.
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Oh no! That's terribly unlucky and you wouldn't think rabbits or roos would need to seek out small fruit trees to eat with all this rain and food around for them to eat.

    Sorry to state the obvious, but you'll have to place a circle of mesh around each tree with a few stakes or fence off your orchard area Ash otherwise the hares and roos will ringbark all your saplings. When the trees get older it should be ok.
     
  4. bearded1

    bearded1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Hi Ash,
    Beautiful property there, well done. It may be roos, but there is a lot of grass around so I would have thought that they would eat that before tree bark. Do any of your neighbours have goats? Or, are there any wild deer around. I have goats and I know that they will do that to trees. Goats do not like grass very much and much prefer shrubs and trees. It looks very much like a goats work. I have not seen what roos do to trees however.
    B1
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for your answers guys.

    Mark, it's obvious to me now that I need to protect them with a mesh. Newbie mistake out of ignorance. I'll be onto that as soon as I can.

    The orchard is fenced with barbed wire on three sides and electric wire on the other, so I suspect hares. The bite marks wouldn't be higher than about 80cm from the base. Because I wasn't expecting this I could only chop up some thorny branches from a sad looking citrus tree nearby to form a makeshift hedge until I can definitively protect the poor young trees.

    Thanks B1, the neighbours have horses and cows but no goats or sheep. So I'm pretty sure it's wildlife as the fencing should be good enough to ward off even small goats. But I can see how a hare can get through...

    Argh. If I see the perpetrator I'll be on a mission. I'm pretty sure I'll like rabbit stew.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Young hares aren't bad eating actually I used to like hunting them through the day because it was more of a challenge than with a spotlight at night :)

    I agree with B1 about the roos or wallabies eating the grass first before going bark but it still can't be ruled out I guess.

    Hopefully your trees recover!
     
  7. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    besides setting up some physical barriers, you could also put a Trail Camera out there to see what kind of critters are hanging around.
     
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  8. Director

    Director Valued Member Premium Member

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    Looks like roos to me Ash, I feel your pain too, I was in the garden on the weekend and noticed the bloody rats had decimated my one blueberry plant, I reckon it was going to fruit this year too. :(
     
  9. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Wow, property surveillance. That could come down the line but for now I'll have to rely on the people living there at the moment.
    Thanks for the tips, all.
    Time to get working on them.
    Roos aren't innocent in my books, and I am no longer sympathetic over them for being the only national mascot that is eaten.
     
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  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I've had a rough time growing blue berries also....
     
  11. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Well, I've resolved that if we are to be in mutual peace, I'm just going to have to protect the trees from animal invasion.
    I've just been back to the patch of dirt to find the trees pretty much the way I left them last time, so no worse, and hopefully they'll survive the attack.
    I've now set up chicken mesh to fence them off from any unsuspecting pests and they should give the trees a chance to recover.
    There has been no damage to the citrus on the orchard, but I won't be taking chances and will do part 2 of the meshing next weekend.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2015
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  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Good stuff Ash! At least it's only a few trees and not really a big setback.
     
  13. bearded1

    bearded1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I think the invaders have a lead deficiency. Easily fixed.
     
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  14. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Thanks Mark. The trees still look alive but I'll have to wait and see if they will recover in full or not. Visited the property again today for the kids to see some young beasts being branded. They liked the process more than I thought they would.

    B1, great minds think alike. Now to find me some lead. Projectile type preferred...
     
  15. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Damn it! It's gotta be the wallabies.
    What else chews and destroys young trees pulling off apple tree leaves as high as 2m?
    ALL of my apple trees have been decimated in the last 3-4 days.
    I was in the orchard over the weekend and there was minimal damage to the trees.
    Through the day they're not doing much around our property, but in the morning there are fresh poos spotted all around
    Now all of them have been chomped at each branch leaving only tall stalks behind.
    :mad::cry2::thumbsdown::shock::quiver::vomit:

    So now more money spent on fencing for me.
    Went to Masters and picked up their 2mm thick steel fencing that I will be putting up as a perimeter around each poor apple tree with a good 50-100cm buffer. I don't know whether this will be enough. Any suggestions?

    It's too much for me to put up the fencing mesh around the entire orchard and those solar ultrasonic animal repellents I bought don't seem to do much. What else can I do?
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member

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    I dont know the cost but what about the single strand electric fence tapes you can roll out?
    It might be something that they get a shock from once or twice and never come looking again......
     
  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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  18. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    I like your thinking. I'll give it some thought to see how practical this can be for me.

    Poor little chooks (on the ad for that electric netting). I have much less sympathy for the roos and wallabies, so I think this is a real possibility...
    I'll give you feedback once I've decided on the method.
     
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  19. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    That's remarkably cost effective...electric fence helped keep feral deer out around here too...and that was just a few strands. Not sure it worked for wallabies/Roos though. The stuff in the pic looks like a much better solution.
    I'd like to think (hope) the chicken fence in the ad is more to keep out the foxes/feral cats/dogs than keep the chickens in!! I'd be worried they'd explode into a feather duster if you cranked the power up too high :)
     
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