Hi, Rabbits have eaten all the way around the bark on 2 of my crab apple trees this winter. What can I do to save them? I lost one other crab apple last winter. I will cover them, but are they lost?
Green Bay, WI
Most likely the trees are lost, it depends on how deep they have eaten into the bark and cambium. The outer layer of all trees is the vital living system of the plant. This is where all transportation of water and nutrients takes place. If it is blocked, the tree will suffer. So in this case, the rabbits have disrupted all transportation of nutrients, so they are probably going to dessicate. Sometimes they will survive, depending on how severe and deep the cuts are. I've seen rabbit damage on many trees, sometimes they just nibble the bark, but if the trees are young enough, they will go down to the xylem and phloem tissues.
I'd say keep the trees, put a trunk guard or fence around them and see if they live. No guarantees though.