Wire bar­ri­ers best to stop nib­bling rab­bits

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Ger­ald Filip­ski

QUES­TION: I have a five-year-old ap­ple tree that’s been dam­aged by rab­bits. They have chewed on the bark al­most around the trunk. The dam­age is lo­cated close to where the branches start. They could reach this height be­cause the snow was so high.

Is there any way to save it? AN­SWER: The key here is whether there is any bark left cir­cling the trunk. If the rab­bits have com­pletely gir­dled the trunk, there may be no hope.

Even if there is a small piece of bark left con­nect­ing the two un­dam­aged parts of the trunk, there is a good chance that the tree will heal it­self.

I would put up a wire mesh bar­rier im­me­di­ately to pre­vent any fur­ther dam­age from the rab­bits.

There is no need to ap­ply any­thing to the wound it­self. It is best to leave it ex­posed to the air to heal.

If the trunk has been gir­dled, there is a pro­ce­dure called bridge graft­ing that can be used to try to re­con­nect the re­main­ing ar­eas of bark on the trunk.

Bridge graft­ing is a method in which twigs or branches from the up­per part of the tree are in­serted into the re­main­ing bark on the trunk. The grafts then grow into the bark, re­join­ing the bark that had been pre­vi­ously chewed away.

There is an ex­cel­lent de­scrip­tion of the pro­ce­dure with an ac­com­pa­ny­ing pho­to­graph on the fol­low­ing web­site: ex­ten­sion.umn.edu/dis- tri­b­u­tion/hor­ti­cul­ture/com­po­nents/DG0532c. html#bridge.

I have used this pro­ce­dure my­self sev­eral times in the past with a suc­cess rate of ap­prox­i­mately 50 per cent.

Next win­ter, I would ad­vise erect­ing a wire bar­rier again to pre­vent this type of dam­age.

You also can use a tree wrap. This is sim­ply a coiled piece of plas­tic that is wrapped around the tree trunk from the ground up.

I used to wrap my young trees only a few feet up but started wrap­ping all the way to the branches be­cause I was find­ing that deeper snow al­lowed the type of dam­age you are de­scrib­ing far­ther up the tree. QUES­TION: My indoor ba­nana plant has leaves that are turn­ing brown. How can I rem­edy this? Also, the bougainvil­lea plant leaves are turn­ing black at the tips. Can you help? AN­SWER: With­out see­ing the plant, my best guess would be a hu­mid­ity is­sue. Lack of hu­mid­ity can cause both of the prob­lems you de­scribed.

Also, a lack of wa­ter could be the prob­lem. Both plants like to have moist soil. Don’t al­low the soil to dry out com­pletely be­tween wa­ter­ings.

An­other an­swer for the ba­nana is if it is the lower leaves that are brown­ing, then it might be part of the nat­u­ral process that they go through when they lose their lower leaves as they grow newer top ones.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Wire will stop Bugs in his tracks.

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