The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

January 2, 2013

Caring for winter fruit trees

RICHMOND — During the winter months, home orchard owners need to protect their fruit trees from rabbits and voles.

But, hold off on any pruning until after the worst of the cold, winter weather has passed.

Rabbits and voles injure fruit trees by chewing the bark from the lower trunk and portions of the roots.

This damage may kill or severely weaken the trees.

If grass has grown up around the base of the trees, it should be removed so as not to provide cover for rabbits and voles.

If your trees are mulched, pull the mulch back for five to six inches at the base of the trunk to keep the rodents away.

Pick up and discard any fruit that remains beneath the trees to avoid attracting the rodents.

Cleaning up fruit from the ground should be a part of annual fall and winter orchard cleanup.

Finally install rodent guards around the lower trunk.

These may be plastic wrap guards that are commercially available.

Home orchard owners can also construct their own guards using quarter- inch hardware cloth.

The guards should cover the trunk to a height of 18 inches and encircle the trunk.

During the winter months, inspect the ground around the trees for tunnels in the grass or holes indicating vole activity.

Use snap traps when vole activity is noted.

 Prior to spring growth, prune out dead and diseased wood.

Pruning increases air movement within the tree canopy, potentially reduces pest problems, improves spray coverage and promotes high-quality fruit production.

Late February, March or early April usually is the best time to prune.

For more information on home orchards, contact me at the Madison Cooperative Extension Service at 859-623-4072 or

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.

Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

What county fair attraction do you like most?

Amusement rides
Beauty pageants
Flora Hall craft exhibits
Horse shows
Livestock, poultry shows
Truck, tractor pulls
Mud, dirt races
Gospel sing
I like them all
     View Results