Apple tree girdled

Asked April 7, 2020, 5:59 PM EDT

Our apple tree got eaten by rabbits. They ate bark nearly all the way around. See photos. Can we save it? We’ve reAd about bridge grafting. Do you know if someone who does this in St. Paul?

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

Take a piece of string and wrap it around the trunk completely. While on the trunk, mark on the string the two outer limits of the bark damage. If the extent of damage is more than half the total length of the string, it is extremely unlikely that your tree will survive. While it may be possible that some foliage may appear this year, it is extremely unlikely that few fruit will develop this year and by 2021 your apple tree may completely be dead. It would be best to bite the bullet this year and replace it. If you do so, then protect your new tree by following the recommendations contained in the following;

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/protecting-trees-and-shrubs-winter

Here is a good site regarding bridge grafting. I suspect that it will not be effective in your case.

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/bridge_grafting_as_a_life_saving_procedure_for_trees

If you want to be absolutely sure in your action, I would suggest that you have a professional, licensed arborist visit your tree and make suggestions. Here is a good publication about selecting such an individual:

https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/how-hire-tree-care-professional

Good Luck!!