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Rodent-proof trees in time for winter.

COLUMN: Your gardening answers

It is time to consider the damage that tree bark eaters can do to your trees this winter. There is no shortage of mice, voles and other rodents that love to feed on the tender wood of thin barked plants such as fruit trees, red maples red maple

see acerrubrum.
 and magnolias, as well as other newly planted trees.

How can we minimize the potential damage caused by these pests and do it in a safe, sensible manner? Fearful of hawks, owls, foxes and other predators, rodents feed undercover. The greatest damage done to tree trunks is where the grass and weeds are tall, close to the tree. In addition, mulch mulch, any material, usually organic, that is spread on the ground to protect the soil and the roots of plants from the effects of soil crusting, erosion, or freezing; it is also used to retard the growth of weeds.  piled up around the base of the tree provides cover as well as keeps the trunk bark constantly moist. Wet trunk bark is susceptible to fungal rot.

To provide a measure of protection, you need to cut down and remove all tall herbage HERBAGE, English Law, A species of easement, which consists in the right to feed one's cattle on another man's ground.  in a circle, at least two feet wide, all around each tree. An old but still good idea is to develop a sand-pan at the base of the tree. This is done by excavating the soil about four inches deep and replacing the soil with sand. The sand suppresses the growth of weeds and is less able to hold tunnels and burrows Burrows is a provincial electoral division in the Canadian province of Manitoba. It was created by redistribution in 1957, and formally came into existence in the provincial election of 1958. The riding is located in the northern part of Winnipeg. .

All mulch, except the aforementioned sand, is removed from contact with the base of the tree. All mulching should take the form of a doughnut with a hole in the center. Remove all fallen fruit, as it attracts yellow jackets yellow jacket: see wasp.
yellow jacket

Any of 35–40 species (genus Dolichovespula or Vespula) of social wasps, principally of the Northern Hemisphere, named for the black bands on its yellow abdomen.
. Rake up fallen leaves to prevent the overwintering o·ver·win·ter·ing
The persistence of an infectious agent in its vector for an extended period, as in the cooler winter months, during which the vector has no opportunity to be reinfected or to infect another host.
 of pests and diseases. Rodent-proof your trees.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 22, 2009
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