Protective spirals for young trees
It is very easy for the entire stems of young trees to be killed by rodents nibbling their bark. The stem dies whenever the bark is eaten or otherwise damaged on a strip that encircles the entire circumference of the stem. Even if it is only a strip of 1cm width, it prevents the sap from the roots from reaching the rest of the tree, and the stem dies as a result.
It is particularly important to protect grafted trees, because if their main stem dies, then the grafted cultivar will be lost, even if another stem grows from the roots afterwards. This is why we provide a free protective spiral for every grafted tree.
However, many other trees, particularly fruit trees such as apple, pear and plum, risk being badly damaged if they are not protected from rodents. For a full list of the trees for which we recommend adding spiral, see here.
Spirals should be installed as soon as the trees enter dormancy in fall, before the snow falls. Around the month of October is generally a good time for us, in zone 4. To see how to install a spiral (it’s very easy!) and other advice on preparing your trees for winter, see our article on winterizing your trees.
It is important to remember to remove the spirals in spring. Failure to do so will result in the trees being badly sunburned later, when they grow too big for the spirals.