How to repel rodents from apple trees

In spring, summer and autumn, uninvited guests in the "face" of wild animals usually do not go into the apple orchards, they have enough food in the forests and meadows. But with the onset of cold weather, the chances of a visit of wild animals increase many times, hunger, as you know, is not an aunt. So that the apple trees reach the whole spring, they are protected by all sorts of improvised means.

Uninvited guests in the apple orchard

Some visitors can never be seen firsthand, but the traces of their stay are immediately evident. As a rule, this happens in the spring: snow is falling, tree trunks are exposed, on which four-legged visitors left their creepy “autographs”.


Vole mice are regulars in the fruit garden in the winter season. Only in the spring their presence gives out the mutilated bark of trees, primarily apple trees. The largest vole among them is a water vole, its body length varies from 12 to 20 cm. Representatives of other smaller species, on average, from 8 to 12 cm. Mice are very fertile, if you do not take any measures, is there any vegetation in the garden, the garden may be in danger of destruction. Voles produce offspring several times a year. In the litter there are from 4–5 to 14 mice and in some years the number of rodents reaches 2 thousand individuals per 1 ha. Animals arrange the system of moves underground and on its surface. The entrances to the ground nests are perfectly disguised, it is completely impossible to make out.

Damage to apple trees from mice is terrible in that it is often detected late. The bare sections of the trunk become vulnerable to winter frosts, especially if they are interspersed with thaws. If the garden is located near the house, you can periodically check whether the bark is intact, trample the snow in tree-trunk circles, blocking the movement of rodents. But getting to the country outside the city does not always work at the right time, and it is impossible to guess this very moment. Rodents sharpen the supple bark of young and middle-aged apple trees from the root neck and up the trunk. In winter, they make tunnels under the snow, raking it with their front legs and head. The higher the snowdrifts, the greater the damage will be, up to the skeletal branches. The roots of apple trees located closer to the surface of the earth, buried seedlings and cuttings also get from sharp mouse incisors.

Photo gallery: species of mouse voles that gnaw apple trees

Entrance to the hole of a water vole is almost impossible to notice

Arable vole is difficult to distinguish thanks to dark fur

red vole lives non-stop 24 hours a day

An ordinary vole eats feed equal to 50–70% of its body weight per day

Forest guests

The white hare is small, in the summer it feeds on grass and herbaceous plants, but in winter it raids orchards, feast on apple trees, buds on old trees, young shoots on seedlings. The apple tree is a delicacy for him, but if he is hungry, he will nibble all the trees in sight. The brown hare eats the same as the white hare; keeps open places: fields, edges, a fan of a peek into the garden. Tracking the little animals is difficult, because their activity occurs in the dark, and on a moonlit night, hares can eat until the morning. Although the hare no longer belongs to the order of rodents, it gnaws at the bark of many trees thanks to its powerful front teeth - incisors. And if the mice work jewelry, more or less evenly removing the layer of the cortex, then the hare bites are coarse, deep and long.

The teeth of a hare are powerful and grow throughout life.

Effective protection against hares is a net or any other material wrapped around the trunk to a height of at least 1.5 m. Why so high? The length of the body of the white hare is 45–47 cm, of the brown 55–67 cm. Add here the length of the hind legs, almost equal to the length of the body (and the hare can stand “on tiptoe”, significantly increasing in height). The higher the snowdrift, the greater the damage to the bark.

Standing on its hind legs, the hare significantly increases in growth and spoils trees to a height of more than 1 meter

By the way, I prepared apple trees in the fall, wrapping the base of the trunks with nylon tights, but this year more snow fell than ever, and hares gnawed the trunks above the wrapped one.


For me, worse than mice and hares, there is no more harmful creature than an ordinary domestic goat - the most malicious garden pest from early spring to late autumn. These treacherous creatures with amazing insight find the slightest loopholes to get to the desired plants. From my sad experience I recall the November day when four neighbor goats, left unattended by the mistress, entered my front garden through an ajar gate (but this is a different story). In a few minutes they managed to taste rose bushes with huge spikes, lilacs and my beloved Golden Delicious. Everything was overeating, nibbling and breaking off with barbaric cruelty, and my emotional experiences at that moment could not be described. In the future, only a solid high fence and a wicket closed on a bolt protected my plantations from creeping by horned beasts.

Goats seem to be able to climb any tree

How to protect the garden from mice and hares

It is not possible to remove mice from the plot in any one way - it is advisable to combine preventive or preventive measures with “force” methods.

Prevention of the appearance of mice

On the territory of the garden and the garden, it is necessary to observe cleanliness:

  • burn pruned branches;
  • dispose of the remaining weeds after weeding;
  • drip or store dry leaves, food leftovers in a compost pile;
  • uproot stumps.

No need to arrange a warehouse of building materials in the garden, especially wooden ones. Because the smallest gap between boards or bars can be chosen by a miniature little animal under the "house".

Mice bite not only tree trunks, but also get to the roots

Plants with a specific aroma unpleasant for mouse smell are used to scare away mice:

  • black root tops, tomatoes, black elderberry branches. A trunk circle is wrapped around this material or the trunk is tied;
  • Colchicum autumn (colchicum, autumn crocus or autumnal). It grows in the southern and western parts of Russia, blooms in August - September. Ground plant seeds (20 g) are mixed with 1 kg of cereal in and laid out at the sites of the appearance of mice;
  • ledum marsh. The plant has a pronounced aroma, as they say, for an amateur. Mice can’t stand it. Leaves of ledum clog the entrance to the mink;
  • thuja, spruce. An infusion is prepared: 0.5 kg of plant branches are poured with 10 liters of boiling water. The resulting aromatic liquid is poured into the mink. The tops of the apple tree are tied down with spruce branches;
  • heads of burdock. Green or mature spiny balls are laid out at the entrance to the hole;
  • daffodils. Mice do not like flower bulbs, so an elegant flower can act not only as a decoration of the garden, but also as a kind of barrier for rodents;
  • Euphorbia rupture is an exotic plant for the Middle Strip, but typical in the Transcaucasus and Krasnodar Territory. Milkweed twigs are poisonous, they are twisted with a ball and stuck in a mink, the mice then leave;
  • celandine - shredded, used as mulch both in the tree-trunk circle of the apple tree and in the beds.

The scent of certain plants or the toxic substances contained in them repels mice.

In my front garden there is a dwarf apple tree four years old. Its bark is in excellent condition from top to bottom, because luxurious daffodil bushes border the trunk circle. I think that it has become a habit in mice to bypass this place.

Beautiful protection from daffodils

Bait and Poison

Specially for mice, various kinds of baits are produced, for example, Euroguard, Antrys, Ratobor, Pied Piper, Nutcracker. The main inconvenience of their use is that in addition to mice, birds, hedgehogs, a beloved cat or, God forbid, curious little children can be poisoned. It is necessary to regularly check and remove the corpses of rodents, simultaneously improving the art of disguising poison from others. Lures prepared at home may not have such a lethal effect, but are harmless to humans:

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  • flour, sugar, alabaster or cement, taken in equal amounts;
  • brown bread and alabaster or gypsum in a ratio of 1: 1.

The ingredients are mixed with dry hands so that alabaster and other additives do not harden prematurely. The mass is rolled into small balls, put them in paper bags and pushed into the hole. Thus, the mice gnaw the bait underground, and for living creatures on the surface indigestible food will not be available. Once in the body of an animal, alabaster, gypsum or cement hardens and clogs the gastrointestinal tract, the mouse dies.

The use of poisoned lures is fraught with risk for other animals and children.

Protective equipment

An excellent protection of apple tree trunks from mouse teeth is the grid - special or bought in a building materials store. The main thing is that the cells are small. The fact is that the mouse bones are mobile, so that it can fold, like a transformer, and penetrate small holes. The lower edge of the mesh fence is dug into the ground by 10–20 cm so that the mice do not damage the root neck and roots located near the surface of the earth.

Video: how to use the net to protect the apple tree

There are two traditional uses of the grid:

  • the tree trunk is wrapped with a net, tied with synthetic cord over the entire height, or the edge of the canvas is fixed in several places with wire, passing it through the cells. It is enough to wrap a plaster or special mesh against mice once with a small overlap. A grid of vegetables is used in the amount of one piece per tree. The soft cloth is cut lengthwise, the trunk is wrapped several times, fixed with a soft wire or polypropylene twine;

    Rigid mesh holds shape, soft must be fixed to the trunk

  • A frame fence is installed around the tree, which is wrapped with a net. Such frames allow you to "pack" young seedlings with a compact crown over the entire height.

    The grid mounted on the rack frame protects not only the trunk, but also the branches

A variety of materials are used for winding the trunk from mice and hares:

  • Kraft paper - bags for dry building mixtures are made from it. It is stronger than usual, holds its shape well, does not get wet for a long time;
  • corrugated tube or spiral strapping - from a series of insulating materials for the electrical cable. The existing longitudinal or spiral incision tremendously facilitates the task of “dressing” the barrel. Insulating tubes are available in different diameters, from which is selected suitable for the protection of skeletal branches;

    The corrugated tube and spiral cable tie are easy to put on a tree

  • insulation for water pipes - also has a longitudinal section, made of sufficiently rigid material, therefore it holds its shape well, does not fall off the trunk, but it is better to grab it with wire or a synthetic cord;

    Inside the insulation for water pipes, the central conductor of the apple tree is warm and safe

  • kapron pantyhose - although they fit snugly against the trunk, get wet and covered with ice, I have never heard that the bark beneath them is wet or snagged;

    Under the enormous thickness of snow, the sections wrapped in a stocking survived; in the same place where the stocking was not enough, mice gnawed

  • bags of sugar or flour. A huge plus of the nonwoven material these bags are made of is its water repellent and breathability. The light color of the canvas ensures that during an accidental thaw, the bark under it will not overheat (in the spring such a strapping can replace whitewashing);
  • garden bandage from lutrasil - available in widths from 8 to 12 cm, sold in specialized stores. For a thick trunk take a wide bandage, for a thin - narrow. It is convenient to wrap thin branches in narrow stripes, covering flower buds at the same time. A garden bandage will help to save on the purchase of the mesh, if it is necessary to protect a tree with a low stem and widely allocated skeletal branches located at a small height from the ground;

    With the help of a garden bandage, the apple tree quickly turns into a cute mummy, inaccessible to voles and hares

  • plastic bottles. The top is cut off from them so that a little narrowed part remains, and the bottom, cut along, put on the trunk. The first bottle of the narrowed part is directed downward, each subsequent bottle enters the narrowed part of the previous one. It looks like an insulating tube. The design is fastened with tape or wire;

    There should be free space between the barrel and the body of the plastic bottle

  • tying the trunk with spruce paws or reeds.

    An apple tree in a spruce "fur coat" looks coquettish

A good result is the use of noise devices. Plastic bottles or cans are hung close to each other on branches. Swaying and colliding, they make a noise that scares away hares. Although here I am confused by some points:

  • Will there always be wind so that the noise system works;
  • As soon as they adapt to safe noise, the starving hares are completely starved.

Before frost, apple trees are whitewashed. Whitewashing is applied only to trees with mature bark, on which a characteristic pattern of cracks and scales has already appeared. You can do this during an unexpected thaw, if only the air temperature was above 0 ° C. This technique allows you to kill two birds with one stone (sorry for the pun):

  1. Hare whitewashed bark is not consumed;
  2. Ice whitening does not form on whitewash from slaked lime.

Copper vitriol tasteless for hares is also added to the whitewash for the trunk.

And I read somewhere else that you need to whitewash trunks with copper sulfate. I whitewashed, but it is clear that the hares are still stuck on these trunks. Apparently, they tried it, quickly realized that they would not eat such muck, and left it.


Treatment of a Gnawed Apple Tree

A timely detected gnaw of a small area is covered with clay mixed with manure or garden varieties. The addition of heteroauxin will not hurt. The mixture covers the exposed section of the trunk, wraps with a cloth of natural material, wraps with a film on top. By fall, the lesion should overgrow with callus. For the winter, such trees are insulated with great care, because the newly formed layer is not as strong as the rest of the bark, and can freeze.

If the damage is great or done in a circle, there are only two ways to save a tree - grafting with a bridge or rapprochement. The damaged area is temporarily covered with varnish, garden varnish or oil paint until sap flow occurs and vaccination can be carried out. While there are cold and the kidneys are sleeping, they are harvesting cuttings for vaccination, which are stored in a cool place.

Bridge grafting

  1. The area without bark is thoroughly cleaned with a knife to healthy wood, wiped with a damp cloth. When the surface dries slightly, the entire affected area is covered with garden varnish, because after vaccination it will be difficult to crawl under the stalk to apply putty. Tools - knife, pruner, disinfected with alcohol.

    The affected area is cleaned with a knife to healthy wood.

  2. The edges of the bark are trimmed with a knife.

    The uneven edges of the gnawed bark are leveled with a knife

  3. On the upper and lower edges of the bark, opposite cuts are made and the tip of the knife is pushed back. The number of cuts depends on the number of grafts grafted. If the bark is gnawed by a ring, 3, 4, 6 or more cuttings are inoculated, depending on the thickness of the trunk. It is enough to coat the shafts with a diameter of up to 6 cm with a garden var and wrap with a garden bandage.

    Each pair of incisions at the edges of the cortex is on the same line.

  4. The ends of the cuttings are cut obliquely.

    Slices on cuttings are located on one side

  5. Cuttings are inserted into the incisions under the bark. First, the stalk is inserted into the lower incision, then into the upper. The bark presses oblique slices, so the cuttings are slightly curved in an arc, this is normal. It is important not to confuse the top and bottom of the handle so as not to disturb the movement of juices. To do this, it is convenient to mark the upper edge with a marker or corrector.

    In order not to confuse the top and bottom of the handle, put a mark

  6. The edges of the cuttings are fixed with electrical tape, film.

    Schematic view of the finished vaccination bridge


If the bark gnawings are not circular, but in stripes or islets, they perform ablactation or vaccination by rapprochement . The trunk of the affected tree is brought closer to the donor, which becomes a seedling of an apple tree of any variety, but with a similar ripening period. If there is no root shoot, in the spring, 1-2 donor seedlings are planted on a gnawed apple tree and grafted when the time comes for sap flow. Damage is covered with garden var, tied with a special bandage.

  1. They lean the stem of the donor seedling against the trunk of the apple tree to determine how much, at what point the junction of the two plants will be, it should always be higher than the damaged sections of the bark.

    The seedling is leaned against the trunk, determining the point of contact

  2. At the marked point, a vertical incision is made 3-4 cm long and a perpendicular cut below 1 cm long, the letter “t” is turned upside down. The edges of the bark are separated with the tip of a knife.

    Above damage to the cortex, a T-shaped incision is performed in an inverted form.

  3. The top of the donor is obliquely cut, the slice is facing the trunk of the apple tree, and its length corresponds to the length of the cut on the bark.

    The donor is cut so that the slice looks at the trunk of the apple tree

  4. The donor is tilted to the trunk of the affected apple tree, the trimmed end is brought under the bark. The junction is fixed with insulation, film.

    It looks like a donor seedling that has taken root with an apple tree trunk

Thus, several donors at different heights can be grafted onto the main tree. What is the result? The root systems of vaccinated or close donors take on part of the work of providing the apple tree with life-giving juices. It turns out something similar to the circulatory system, and a few “props” are added to the tree, saving it from death. The growth that will appear on the donor should be removed.

Video: bridge vaccination

A strong fence is the best barrier from large rodents. The fight against mice is carried out throughout the season, and for the winter, each tree individually is protected from them.


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