Are your apple trees protected? (16 Photos)

JDunham

Active Member
Ugh, I can almost feel the sick feeling in my stomach you must have had. I have had a some pretty good damage from bears and they have been my biggest problem so far. Those pictures of the vole damage may give me nightmares! Thanks for posting those pictures.
 

Fish

Well-Known Member
Man, i shed a tear for you.
Ive had to cut down some very nice trees due to fireblight. But dang you have to feel cheated.
Grab a shovel and plant again.
 

Chestnut Valley Farms

Active Member
Dude this is heart breaking:(
I'm now having anxiety thinking about some of my trees I have yet to put trunk protectors on...
I shared link on a FB group to spread the word... Hope you don't mind.
 

Native Hunter

Well-Known Member
Man, I hate to see that and feel for you. You posted this at the right spot to have other people who feel your pain. There are a lot of apple tree lovers here who understand the amount of hard work you put in with those trees to get them to that point.
 

Gator

Well-Known Member
That's horrible. The people on this site as well as the old site preach that protecting fruit trees is more costly than the trees themselves and more important. I had bears mess up some of my crab apples last year so I sorta know the feeling but they were only set back, not killed.
 

dtabor

Member
Its a constant fight with the wildlife and apples. I have my trunks wrapped with 24" screen so thats fine, but in addition to the small animals, the moose found that they can just reach right over my fencing that I have around the trees to keep deer away and help themselves to the branches. Even have a pic of a mother showing the calf how easy it is. I raised the fencing up on the T posts to stop this. Then I have a few older trees that I had taken down the fencing thinking the lower branches could hold their own with some browsing and the deer have found how tasty the bark of planted apple trees (never touch the wild ones) is and girdled a few trees, even on my lawn near the house!
 

Chainsaw

Well-Known Member
Darn! That is an unexpected event if I ever heard one. I put wire around the trunks of favorite trees even if they are eight inches across to keep the rubbing bucks off of them. However, I had no clue that voles are/were still a threat once the tree had reached ten plus years old. I guess I'll need to consider that. Thank you for sharing that info and I'm really, really sorry that happened to your trees.

I don't know of anything other than maybe raising babies that is so difficult. There are just so many animals, insects, viruses, diseases, weather happenings, forest succession, etc. against an apple tree reaching maturity; it is surprising that any ever do. I guess like many things in nature, dozens, hundreds, or even thousands are produced by one parent just so one of its offspring might make it to reproduce itself and carry the species onward. It makes me wonder how the people living in the day like 1800 or so ever got millions of trees to grow from seeds. And that those trees eventually populated many, many areas of this country is seemingly impossible. Either the tree variety of that day was just so--ooooo tough or the predators of apple trees were a lot scarcer. Or maybe our relatives living then were just more in tune with raising trees than we are today.

During the pear tree bloom of last week, I have been wandering my woods daily finding and marking the wild pears that were previously unrecognized by me. The locations will be documented and as time and circumstance allow, the marked trees will be released. The wild pears are no where near as important to me here as the wild apples. But like the apples they or their close relatives are among those that have survived all of the elements and dangers thrown at them over the last plus years. Hearing experiences like Wild Thing has encountered with his ten year old planted apple trees makes those old wild fruit trees, even pears a little more precious and valuable to me than they were even yesterday.

This week the apple bloom has started here and again I will be walking long throughout the property finding and marking for future release some more of the more hidden wild apple trees that I have missed SEEING over the years. And I will also be looking with a different eye at the fifteen or so planted apple trees that are still alive out of the 250 or so we planted years ago.

I don't know much about voles but I am betting their very existence on Wild things property is now in jeopardy. Seriously Wild Thing, please share with us your experiences in replanting and winning the battle against those extremely destructive voles.
 

Chummer

Active Member
Dave,
Don't under estimate those pears. I had a great stand at my buddies years ago. It was a few yards from a single pear tree in a thicket of wild apples. Deer would walk right over the apples to get to that pear. Only problem was they were gone by the second week of bow season.
 

Wild Thing

Member
Thanks for all of your condolences guys. It really was painful to have to pull all of those girdled trees and start over - but start over I did:

Here are the new trees I planted to replace those that the voles girdled. These are Honey Crisp on Standard rootstock:



I bought 10 more this year - all Red Wealthy on M7 Semi Dwarf rootstock. I planted 5 of them in the orchard by the barn to replace the Evans Bali Cherry trees which all succumbed to the back to back to back brutal winters we recently had. Just outside of the fence to the left side of this photo you can see some seedlings which I healed in last year and will be planting and tubing this week. These are 150 Siberian Crabapples:



I planted the others in a couple of different food plots yesterday:



I will be planting Siberian Crabapples in these tubes on the right for pollinators. The far tubes on the left are oak seedlings which I started from acorns last year. Still have to finish planting about 60 more of those. Unfortunately, skunks or coons are digging them up behind me:




They also dug up some of the 500 Norway Spruce plugs we planted last week. I guess I'll have to try to trap these nuisance critters if I want my trees to survive. If it isn't deer, bears, or voles, it's coons or skunks - sometimes you can't win for losing:



I have never had problems with anything digging up our conifer plantings in the past and we usually plant 500-1,000 every year. Of course we never had any skunks around here until this past year. The other thing I noted is that they are only digging up those seedlings where we used a drill and auger to dig the hole. Unlike the holes where we use a dibble bar or my plug planting tool, the holes we auger have dirt residue around the outside of the plug. I think the critters think a fox or something buried a tasty morsel there so they dig it up to investigate. You would think though, that after digging up a dozen or so and finding nothing but a conifer plug or oak seedling they would quit trying. Apparently our skunks and coons are the brightest bulbs in the package.
 
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Chainsaw

Well-Known Member
Jeremy, thanks on the pear post, I replied in your Top Of Hill Thread as I got a little off of this threads subject in my previous post.
 
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