Protection For Our Apple Trees
The two animals that we are concerned about this winter in our young forest garden are the deer and the voles.
This summer, we saw signs of deer on our property. A few of our young apple trees had branches eaten off.
This fall, not having a fence, we wrapped a heavy duty white polypropylene twine to encircle our small forest garden. We did this several times up to seven feet high using our maple trees as posts to create the fence.
To protect our young apple trees from the voles girdling the trunk & root base, we built 4 feet high cages on most of our trees. We used 1/4 screen galvinized hardware cloth. We chose 4 feet high to prevent the voles from entering the top of the cage as the snow builds higher in the winter.
Some of the trees that had lower side branches, we used 2 feet high cages and then we added the screens to cap the top to prevent the voles from entering by the top of the cages.
Above the 2 feet we continued the plastice tube. At the base of each cage we extended out the screen 6 inches to hinder these rodents from eating at the root level. We know that this is still a weakness as the voles can dig a tunnel outside of the meshed area to the roots. We also wrapped the trunk with white plastic tubing to prevent winter sun damage to the bark.
We do have lots of other young trees & bushes that are unprotected from the voles & deer but do not find a way to pratically protect them. We just hope that come spring as many of them can survive as possible. We live quite far from our lot so we do not plan to go there till spring.