Protecting fruit trees from vole damage and
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URBANA -- There aren't as
many food choices for mice, voles and other rodents during winter,
which means that rodents like overwintering in the orchards and
growers may lose some of their good, prolific fruit trees, said
Maurice Ogutu, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture
educator based in Cook County.
"The rodents tend to girdle tree trunks
by eating tender new bark and the cambium layer underneath," he
said. "The girdled tree dies in spring since there is no means for
translocation of food from the shoots and no cambium layer for
replenishment of vascular tissues."
Ogutu recommends that tree owners
protect their trees during dormant season by:
Using hardware cloths of one-eighth-
to one-fourth-inch mesh folded to form a cylinder of 4 to 8 inches
in diameter. Encircle the trunk with the mesh 20 to 30 inches
above the ground and extend it 2 to 4 inches into the ground to
protect trees against rabbits as well.
Using poison baits such as Thiram
during the dormant season. Read and follow label instructions when
using any pesticide.
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Winter injury is very common to apple
and other fruit trees, such as peaches, sour cherries and plums, in
some parts of northern Illinois. The injury can occur on barks and
roots of trees. The roots are injured when the soil is frozen. Some
rootstocks are more prone to winter injury than others. Protect your
Planting hardy cultivars.
Using hardy rootstocks that can
tolerate low temperatures.
Painting tree trunks with white latex
Applying straw mulch 4 to 6 inches
thick from the trunk to drip line to protect the roots of
rootstocks that are susceptible to freeze injury from November to
March, but check for rodents.
[University of Illinois news