SHOP PRODUCTS
Houzz Logo Print
bonsaist

All my in ground trees are gone

bonsaist
15 years ago

I'm writing this with complete sadness. I unwrapped one of my trees to discover that it was all eaten by field mice. Then I went to the other wrapped trees and I uncovered them, to my disappointment they were all chewed up by field mice.

I lost 5 very large trees. That's what's left of them.

Brooklyn White


close up


Dark Portuguese



yes there was a large fig tree here

I've been growing figs for 9 years. I've never had this problem. I had a cat that was in control, but I had to give my cat away since my wife became pregnant. When the cat is away the mice will play.

Bass

Comments (51)

  • dieseler
    15 years ago

    Thats terrible oh gosh by looking at those pictures .
    Look i cant send you cuttings as my tree's are cut up good from past fall but i will be happy this fall to send what i can to you to get started again maybe sooner.
    When we first had home built 20 years back i planted many regular tree's and next spring they were all gone they were small tree's but in my case it was rabbits as i saw several doing this one day and set the dog out in yard after em. I found small type indentations that year in yard as they were starting to make there families they were covering those up with grey fur or hair.

    Im sorry you lost yours and will try to help.
    Martin

  • peg919
    15 years ago

    Bonsaist,
    Oh, what a shame! That is heart breaking to loose such big trees. Years of work gone. So sorry for you. Any chance of getting another cat?

    Peg

  • Related Discussions

    All of My potted figs are in the ground today

    Q

    Comments (2)
    I ave my dozen trees planted in big pots and I make holes in the pots and plant it in a raised bed in the garden. In winter I dig the pots out and take them inside the 3 car garage. Frankly this was a fun job when I had two trees but with dozen trees it became a daunting job.I have a roof over the raised bed and the house covering the west side, I am planning to make a home made green house nothing fancy by closing the north, south and east sides by by greenhouse fabric. The house provide some heat and may be I can provide some heat too. The temperature has to stay under 30 in order for the trees to stay dormant. I have another ambitious idea comes February I will raise the temperature to 45-50for the trees to start blooming in March and have little figs in April. This will extend my figy season by two months I will have no worry about ripening. Off course wife thinks I crazy but that is Ok she will change her mind when she dips her teeth in sweet figs as early as June.
    ...See More

    All of my roses, 36 total, chewed to the ground.

    Q

    Comments (40)
    The deer that visits my yard will eat all the buds and leaves off my roses and leave bare stems. After a complete denuding, the rose may not recover enough to survive the next winter. The deer go after the tenderest hybrid roses and tend to leave the wild brambly rose alone. They prefer the 'soft' rose plants to the old hardy heirloom varieties. Sometimes, I can repel the deer by spraying the plants with a repellent called "Repels". That repellent must be re-applied after each rain. Once marigolds are established (have developed a root system), the deer will eat the rose leaves and hydrangea buds in preference to the marigolds. So far, they have left the petunias and phlox alone. Oddly, they do not touch my peonies., but these bloom only once in early summer for about 2 weeks and then are done for the season. For the rest of the year, peonies are just a bush. Since you have a fenced yard, the best repellent is a yard dog living in a dog house in the yard. All it takes is one 'yap' out of the dog to scatter a whole herd of deer.
    ...See More

    Update from My In-Ground Trees

    Q

    Comments (0)
    I haven't been here much lately. Spring/summer has finally arrived and it has been really wet! Thought I would share some photos, including several topics here. One topic is when do you thin your fruit to preserve the shape of your tree. The other topic is growing other plans in the shade under your citrus. Enjoy and share your thoughts! I'm not a citrus purist. As long as I don't stunt my citrus, I think it's cool to plant other stuff in the shade of my trees. I may loose a little productivity but at least a couple of shade-loving plants grow great under my citrus. Ginger in the shade of my tangerine. It's a fun plant to grow and home-made ginger ale has a good bit of lemon juice in it so it's a great citrus go-with for your yard. Plant it on the shaded side of your tree. Aloe under my calamondin tree. I have to be careful not to hit the aloe when I use the weedeater! Next few photos are Ponderosa lemons. I have 23 Ponderosas planted around my yard, all from seed and ranging from a couple of feet tall to mature trees, 10 or 15 feet tall. Some of my tees I just assume will be production trees and will droop to the ground on heavy production years. I have to prune the limbs back now and then since the limbs that droop stay low after the lemons are harvested. I have a few trees that are young but have their first fruit this year. I would like a few of those trees to keep their nice, upright, shape but I really hate to pick off the lemons since it was so fun to see them bloom and set fruit this year. I could prop up each lemon I guess but this tree set about 25 fruit this year. That's a lot of prop-up sticks and then it's problematic keeping the grass mowed around the tree. The new lemons are mostly in the crown where they will have a lot of leverage and weight to bend the branches down. Here is another Ponderosa that use to have a nice upright shape. I pruned it pretty heavy last fall and even the more upright limbs are already drooping and the fruit are a long way from full size. Now some miscellaneous. Meyer I am not thinning fruit from for a change this year. It's been pretty pale all spring. I have fertilized several times but I think it's older leaves and some stress from soggy soil. It's been a really wet spring. A fairly new Satsuma orange. I thinned most of the fruit off this spring to encourage growth. Left to right, Satsuma orange, kumquat, and blood orange. Finally getting blood oranges this year! I thought about naming each fruit since I'm so happy to finally be getting fruit from this big-ole tree but there are about 30 oranges so I skipped naming them :>) - This spring, I pruned off a branch from the new Satsuma. It had some new buds on it so I tried grafting them into some of the Ponderosa trees. All the buds died except this one and I haven't been able to get it to grow out. I snipped the branch off above it but maybe not down close enough to the graft. The branch re-sprouted above the graft. Do you think this bud will re-sprout now that the original bud-growth has died and healed over (leaf scar)? Happy citrusing everyone!
    ...See More

    Is my oak tree long gone

    Q

    Comments (2)
    without pix.. its impossible to offer any suggestions ... ken
    ...See More
  • eukofios
    15 years ago

    SOrry to see your disaster. I would be very depressed if this happened to me. I would not dig them out yet, if you havent already - some will grow back from roots very fast.

  • alb419_ny
    15 years ago

    wow,looks like those rodent love fig`s bark.Hope those
    trees will still regrow from the roots.Some people use
    mothballs to deter rodents,do not know how safe they are.Ciao,
    Giuseppe

  • Suzi AKA DesertDance So CA Zone 9b
    15 years ago

    I say, get an outside cat!! This is one of the saddest things I have ever seen. Cats are happy outside. Build it a little house with a gentle heating pad bed.

    Where there's a will, there's a way! And of course, the roots will try to survive. Please post if they re-sprout.

    I live in a different zone. Southern California desert. We get huge wild fires here. Devastation! BUT, a few months after the fires, some of the burned shrubs just put on new trunks and live.

    There is hope!!

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I'm hoping they sprout back from the ground, but the mice chewed up most of the roots as well.
    I guess I will attempt to wrap the bark with aluminum foil prior to wrapping them next fall.
    I might have to ask for my cat back.

  • steve_nj8
    15 years ago

    Bonsaist - Send me an email if interested. I have a few small potted plants I could send to a neighbor across the Gap. Sorry for your loss.

  • italiangirl74
    15 years ago

    Bass, I am so upset to see these pictures and well understand how you must be so angry and upset with those damn horrible rodents, I can't stand them, but never seen them eat figs like this. Weree they living in the tarps with your figs? Little nussances all of them. I will gladly send you some cuttings or plants later on in the year if you would like, I don't have the varieties that you had lost, but I do have a good selection of others. You are in the same state as me, maybe just a couple hours away, Let me know in future. Ciao Maggie

  • ejp3
    15 years ago

    What a terrible thing. Let me know the varieties and I will help you out if I can. I wonder, if the trees were left uncovered do you think the damage would be the same? Worse? At least you would be able to hopefully intervene sooner. I have a cat that has a cat house on my front stoop and only comes in to eat. If I leave his plate outside he dosent bother comming in.

  • jazzbass1
    15 years ago

    Bass,
    Sorry to hear and see you loss. I have plenty of cuttings. send me a email.

    Ricci

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thank you all for offering cuttings and plants. It shows how friendly fig enthusiasts are. Luckily I have trees in containers, but those in ground trees were very productive. I do have a tree that I left unprotected, I had the trunk wrapped in plastic to protect from the rabbits chewing the trunk. It survived the winter with only damage to branches tips, but it bears late because of that. It's the Brooklyn dark.
    My best option is to grow them in containers. However I'm not giving up, I will try and experiment by wrapping the trunk in aluminum foil next year if my trees ever sprout back.
    The damn mice chewed up the roots through tunnels they dug up. It seemed like a fancy hotel that was built for the mice by wrapping the trees. It kept them warm with lots of food.

    Bass

  • dieseler
    15 years ago

    Bass,
    i dont think foil will stop them they can easily chew thru it, where i used to work they would make holes in the drywall indoors in washroom. What i used to do after the rabbits chewed on my small tree's many years back was at the HD store i bought the thick hard stuff they sometimes bury in ground to bring the rain gutters away from home, course you would have to put a slice in it to put around the trunk and duck tape it good and seal the top as we used to watch cable TV in switchmans shanty and i actually seen these tiny mice come from a tiny hole thru ceiling where tv cable was strung thru it was a game for them as they would run up and down a thin tv cable line so they can easily climb any type of wrap to find a opening. Those darn things i think would survive an all out nuclear war.When we first had home built here many years back it was all farm fields and there were many field mice we had one chew thru the garage overhead doors bottom strip i later found out as the Misses and i were watching TV and out of corner of my eye i saw something run up the curtains, like tom and jerry cartoons i was the house lady sort to speak chasing this darn thing all over the frontroom with our broom, i accidently knocked the curtains down and when it went under couch i was so frustrated i grabbed couch and tipped it on its side , i cornered it and smacked it with broom a buch of times grabbed paper towel picked it up by tail and walked outside and deposit it in the rain sewer. We dont see them anymore since mostly all homes now.
    Martin

  • pitangadiego
    15 years ago

    You have mail.

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I have some cuttings I saved from last fall that I'm starting now in hope of replacing these trees. I won't be getting nearly as enough figs from the few trees I have in pots. If any of you end up with more figs than you need I'll be happy with some.

    bass

  • wildforager
    15 years ago

    So sorry to hear of your loss. I'm not sure if this helps but I understand that if fiberglass insulation is used to plug mouse holes around the house they will eat a bit of it and then they get plugged up and die. This might be the answer to wrapping the trees of the future. It might be itchy but the trees could be washed off and have no ill effects...hopefully.

    Peace,
    Little John

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    wildforager,
    I should have took a picture of the fiberglass insulation I used. They chewed it up as well. It didn't seem to matter to them. They still ended up eating the entire tree all the way to the top.
    Bass

  • wildforager
    15 years ago

    WOW,

    Sounds like it might just be a rumor that I heard about the fiberglass. I guess it was just an appetizer for those little buggers. grrr. Wish I could help!!

    Peace,
    Little John

  • gorgi
    15 years ago

    Bass,

    Sorry to hear about your fig misfortune.

    Amazing what extensive damage those little crittiers can do!
    I had heard about it, but I have not experienced or seen
    pictures of such devastion before.

    In my garage where I store most of my figs, I did supply
    them (possible mice/rats) with poisoned "bars" as potential food,
    and I do see some minor nibbling.

    Glad you were smart enough to save some cuttings.
    If you need any of my help, just let me know...

  • chills71
    15 years ago

    Bass;

    Don't be shy. If there's a plant you're missing, please let the call go out. One (or more likely more than one) of us will certainly help you to replace whatever you need.

    A warning about fiberglass insulation. I used it one year and it adhered to the bark and I suspect might have been a cause of the molding I had that year.

    Now you've got me worried enough to want to go home and unwrap my in-ground tree to make sure its ok.

    ~Chills

  • loslunasfarms
    15 years ago

    Bass, let me know if you need me to replace the stuff I got from or I gave you, no problem what so ever.

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thank you all for your offers. I'm hoping something will sprout in spring. Here's one more tree I uncovered and this is how the hardy chicago tree looks now.


    :-(
    Bass

  • ottawan_z5a
    15 years ago

    Sorry to see that Bass.
    For some it is mice and for others it is the rabbits spoiling the coming of spring.
    The rabbits here do all my pruning of fruit trees for upto 2 feet of the tree height. However, if the plant is under 2 feet then it never grows above 2 feet because the rabbits prune it down regularly to below the snow level in the winter. Any branch that is 1/4" thick or less is always gone. I planted "4-in-1" pear tree and now is is "2 out of 4-in 1". I had a "4-in-1" sweet cherry tree and now it is an awkward "1 out of 4-in-1". Amazingly they cut it cleaner than I could do it with my pruners. Some fruit trees that the rabbit could not reach the branches were damaged by bark eaten near the ground level. The rabbits left alone a grape vine and non-fruiting trees except lilac. There must be something in the fruit trees branches and barks that must be gourmet for the mice and rabbits. Yes, the rabbits left their pooh to fertilize each tree for their next year winter food.
    I tried to cover them using burlap last fall but right after the first snow fall I noticed squirrels busy ripping the burlap, filling up mouths and taking it up the trees and furnishing their residence for the winter. Next year I am going to use chicken wire warped for the two feet height.
    I blame it on the snow because it covers all the food sources for these animals.

  • tandrew31
    15 years ago

    Sorry for your loss.I had a similiar experience on a smaller scale this week when I found all of my cuttings
    of Celeste and Hardy Chicago that I was trying to root
    in compost outside were chewed up by mice.I wont make that mistake again as I will root indors if Iam lucky enough to
    find cuttings.Good luck.
    Tom

  • jackinct
    15 years ago

    This is more in the way of a brainstorming type question rather than a suggestion re whether anyone knows if this has ever been tried as an experiment to solve this problem.

    If you took 55 gallon steel drums, cut out the tops and bottoms (all except the top on the one for the topmost one), and created a stack of drums as high as you needed to completely go over each tree, and then welded the drums together, and placed them over EACH tree, & then filled each drum with say, leaf mulch for insulation, would that work (you would need to secure the stacked drums to the ground to keep the wind from blowing them over; so I guess if you welded some handles to the very bottom of the stack, took some fairly long rebar and bent one end to form a hook, and pounded the hook end over the handle (with the straight part into the ground), that should keep the stack upright in any kind of a wind)? No, not a cheap solution, but no mouse can chew through steelÂI canÂt think of any type of a steel fence that has openings in it that are so small that a mouse wouldnÂt be able to fit through that would serve the same purpose.

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago
  • jackinct
    15 years ago

    Question re bonsaistÂs post:

    Has any viewer to this post actually tried this collar technique that the URL from the post of bonsaist (the URL is to the OSU [Oregon] Garden Extension program); would appreciate some feedback if you've tried this, or something similiar. I can readily imagine any rodent simply climbing up past the collar and.....If they are hungry enough, any exposure by being out in the open, would not be a deterrent. It seems to me that their reproductive volume speaks to how becoming a casualty is not very high on their list of successful self-preservation strategies.

  • wildforager
    15 years ago

    Bass,

    Recently I've discovered a bucket in my garage next to a bundle of seedy broom corn tops. The mice have been going after the seeds and falling into the bucket. The next morning I find them stiff and frozen in the bucket. This has happened for the last 3 days. I'm sharing this because each time I find a mouse, I think of your trees. May each little carcass be an offering on the altar of your fig trees!! I feel such joy just knowing that I'm doing something to make my area better. Each dead mouse is a trophy!

    In fig solidarity,
    Little John

  • gorgi
    15 years ago

    jackinct,

    Though not experienced, the wire mesh method sounds very
    much more practical to me. There are many wire meshes.
    Some people use chicken wire (~1") just to hold leaves
    (NO stopping for mice here). Mice-proof wire-mesh should
    be the 1/4" kind, available at HD, Lowes, etc. Comes
    in 3 or 4 foot heights. Buring a few inches may also help.

    Where do you get your 55 gal steel drums from?
    After cutting/welding two together (I have no such
    equipment to do so), how do you manage put this
    gismo around the fig tree?
    What about heat/moisture/ventilation?

  • loslunasfarms
    15 years ago

    Wild, Bass et al.

    The bucket idea makes great sense for a trap, or surrogate for in field trees. The grain is CHEAP, not to mention a good way to get them mice or at least test for the presence of them. I like this idea.

    I have two mostly outdoor cats that I have seen catch field mice in our back yard. My wife now would never get rid of them because SHE HATES mice, and I have never lost a fig to birds.

    Mice and birds, say hello to my little friends!












  • bjs496
    15 years ago

    Hi Bass,

    I'm very sorry to see the damage the rodents caused.

    I would agree that foil is not a good choice. I have had many of my air-layers opened up by squirrels scratching through the foil and plastic. Also, it looks like the damage goes pretty far up the tree. Unless you wrap it up to the top with hardware cloth, you're likely to get damage.

    I wouldn't necessarily cut the trees down, yet. I bought a 'Peter's Honey' from a nursery in NJ a couple of years ago which had been damaged by rabbits. The trunk was in pretty bad shape (not as bad as yours), but the tree has survived. This tree produces an abundance of suckers below the damage, but there is growth above the damage, as well.

    I hope your trees survive. If you need, what is left of my backyard is open to you.

    ~james

  • jackinct
    15 years ago

    Reply to GorgiÂs Post.

    I sounds like I need to clarify my original post. To begin with, I have suffered through 10+ years of dealing with squirrels. I have brainstormed (which I define as creative use of untried & untested ideas) barriers drawing inspiration from anywhere that my imagination led me to believe was worth a try. My barriers are a perennial work in progress, not only in regard to effectiveness, but cost, etc.,. I have a 100' x 4' urban garden plot, all ringed in by what Home Depot sells as bird cage wire. In the first year of my 2 in-ground fig trees, I had about 8-10 figs grow; the squirrels (but possibly birds) got 8 of them (AND long before they were ripe). My steel drum idea, which I noted was quite expensive, would be easy for me since I live in an industrial area, and IÂm reasonably sure some local vendor who sells to industrial customers would sell me some. Ditto re using the yellow pages for finding a welder. Obviously for winter use with rodent threats, I would have to lift them up & over the trees (and likely tie the branches to the trunk), and I might need assistance doing that. In reconsidering my original posting on this, I would actually have to cut off the top on the top drum in order to fill it with leaf mulch. More trouble than it is worth?Âquite possibly so. Perhaps you hear an undeclared state of non-violent war existing on my end between squirrels and myself? By the way, IÂve not come across the 1/4" wire mesh at my Home Depot; but I will look. Thanks for the heads up on that. The steel drums are solely for winter insulation purposes. I am resigned, though, that this year when I start seeing figs disappear to construct a fence barrier around them (which would also need a barrier on the top of it); likely this will be bird cage wire (and youÂre right, chicken wire holes are large enough for any rodent to squeeze through). And yes, the aesthetics are awful. It remains to be seen how much work I am willing to commit to this for the sake of having fresh figs! I hope this clarifies everything.

  • ajpa
    15 years ago

    That is terrible! I am so sorry!
    The cuttings you sent me seem to be doing well (knock on wood) and it makes me so sad that their "parents" have died. :(
    Rats & mice have a lot of diseases. Am I a horrible person for suggesting this -- how about rat poison around the trees when you wrap them?
    There's also the simple bucket trap: fill a 5 gallon bucket with a few inches of water. Smear some peanut butter a few inches below the rim of the inside of the bucket.

    If you are worried about the cat giving your wife toxoplasmosis, that's unlikely if you do all the litter box duty (daily) and if there is a day that she HAS to do it, she should wear disposable gloves.(Congratulations on your approaching fatherhood!)

    Here is a link that might be useful: toxoplasmosis & pregnancy

  • gorgi
    15 years ago

    jackinct,

    Enough said.
    Pl. no hard feelings from either side.

    My best recomendation (often posted by many other fig-nuts),
    once you find any solution that does works for you -
    just stick to it.

  • dieseler
    15 years ago

    Bass,
    if your thinking about useing wire mesh here is a site that has many different types of metal ones.To bad they dont make a tight one that has soome sort of barbs on it that surely would fix them darn meece.
    http://www.twpinc.com/

    Aluminum
    Brass
    Bronze
    Copper
    Decorative
    Galvanized Hardware Cloth
    High Transparency
    Insect Screen
    Micronic
    Monel
    Plain Steel
    RFI Shielding
    Sintered Meshes
    Stainless Steel
    Welded Stainless

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    How about planting a tree for the growing season and digging it out in fall?
    I know someone in northern NJ who does that for several of his fig trees.
    The trees get about 6-8 ft. then he digs them up and place them in storage then plant them again in spring.

    Bass

  • bjs496
    15 years ago

    Bass,

    *In theory* you could plant a tree in an Air-Pot and bury the container. The roots would grow through the holes on the side of the container into the ground. At the end of the season, drive a sharp-shooter down the outside of container to sever the roots, then pull it out of the ground. I tried this with newly rooted cuttings a couple of years ago while I was traveling. I was worried about moisture retention while I was traveling due to the small size of the container. I arranged the containers in a large tray and surrounded them with mulch. The roots did grow through the holes and into the mulch.

    ~james

  • svanessa
    15 years ago

    Or better yet, how about a super shovel. Looks like it would make easy work out of cutting roots.

    {{gwi:759119}}

    Here is a link that might be useful: Super Shovel

  • dieseler
    15 years ago

    You could do that as you stated, i had thought about it years back and also thought just bury them as another method as my relatives did for many years in Chicago.
    I decided on the pot method much easier for me and then i just store them in garage But im sure your method would also work if you dont mind digging out and then digging in 6 to 8 ft tree back in spring, my draw back is wheeling them in and out of garage but it enables me a few weeks jump start on the new season so i endure . In the end its what works best for you .
    Martin

  • Scott F Smith
    15 years ago

    So sorry to hear about your loss, Bass. I haven't had a fig disaster yet but have had many other disasters in my years of orcharding.

    I have a covering scheme which I think is mouse-proof. Heres the idea. Make sure the covering material itself cannot be chewed through. I use aluminum bubble wrap insulation. Make sure that when you put the cover over your figs you have 3-6" or so that can lay out on the ground. Now, get some ground staples (e.g. these) and go around the cover and about 3" in from the edge secure it with a ground staple pushed through your cover, every 6" or so around the whole outside. Now once that is done get some dirt or similar and cover all around the edge with dirt, so there is not even any of the edge of the cover visible to a rodent -- all they see is a cover coming right out of the ground.

    I have never had mice at my figs, but I also have two cats which probably take care of any mouse problem I may have had. But, I don't see how a mouse could get into this cover. In our previous house we had a bad mouse problem. I finally got rid of them by sealing every single tiny crack in the foundation with that spray foam. It took me a couple years but once I had the cracks 100% sealed, no mice. They can get through an astoundingly small crack, but if there is absolutely no opening at all, you've got 'em nailed.

    Scott

  • kkfromnj
    15 years ago

    I was a little depressed when I saw this, I can only imagine how you felt.

  • pezzuti9
    15 years ago

    Bass,
    I'm pleased to see after just finishing unwrapping my garage kept fig trees that all went well. Lots of mice droppings around but so far damage free. It looks like if nothing happens from now until the time you come by I can keep the promise I made to you. I was pleased that the younger trees made it through there first winter in the garage. They have not been placed in the larger tubs as yet.
    Lou


  • kim4figs546
    15 years ago

    :( I have my fig trees in ground. By November they were... looking shorter. I went to inspect and OHHHHHH my gosh! They were chewed (one ALL the bark) and cleanly pruned back to the ground!! Clean cuts throuh the limbs :( I feel your pain, one nice bush was inches from the ground. But they are putting out a few leaves now, even the one with NO bark at all. And as soon as it got its first leaf the sweet cotton tails came over and ripped it off. I would offer you some cuttings but none of mine really have branches now. I have a Texas Everbearing that will be ready for cuttings in the fall, let me know and I will send you some. Sorry :(

  • bonsaist
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Lou,
    you did great by wrapping the aluminum foil around the trunk.
    Kim,
    Sorry to hear the the mice ate your fig trees as well. Did you wrap your trees in winter? where do you live?

  • rich204
    15 years ago

    Hello,
    Sorry to hear that Bass.
    My wrapped celeste suffered some chewing from voles as well.It is mainly around the base and on 1 exposed large root.Does this mean the tree will not survive?..Is there anything I can do to seal the chewed exposed part?...I think I may dig it up and put it in a large tub if if I can.

    Thanks,

    Richard

  • pezzuti9
    15 years ago

    Richard,
    I hope you don't mind if I take on answering your question. I have gone through what seems like the same from your description years ago to four of my stored trees.

    The first one I just threw it out thinking it would not be worth keeping anymore since the whole trunk at the base was striped of its bark by the mice. A area about two inches wide around the whole trunk.

    A little while after I did that I came up with an idea
    that I decided to try. The other three trees had the same damage done to them. What I did was to cut a branch from each of the trees and then stripped from each of them pieces of bark long enough to reach across the damaged area. I used a razor blade knife to do this.

    I carefully scraped the bark from the areas above and below the areas I wanted to bridge with the fresh bark I striped from their branches exposing the light green coloring just below the bark. One of them was even below the level of the ground. Then I taped the three 1/2 inch wide strips to each tree at first just to hold them in place with just plain scotch tape later I covered it all with duct tape.

    To my surprise it worked. Near the end of the summer months I removed the tape from the trees and to my surprise they had all grown new bark completely around the effected area.
    In fact those same trees are part of the photos I posted above. I was sorry that I thre out the first one. Since then I have always wrapped the trunk of my trees with heavy-duty foil and I leave the foiled covered bottom of their trunks exposed and tie up the blankets that I use covering them hoping that it keeps the critters from getting under the blankets and into the trees.

    I know mice can chew threw foil but so far I have not have a problem. Maybe its just luck but I have been using that method on all the young fruit and other trees I have planted on my property.. I live close to a very large field and a woody area so there are many varmints I have to deal with. Groundhogs are one of the worst.

    Hope you understand what I have just described to you and the damage to your trees was just at the base of the trunk and if you try it it works for you.
    Just my two cents worth.
    Good luck!!!
    Lou

  • kim4figs546
    15 years ago

    Hi Bass!
    I didnt wrap my trees because I live in Texas and from what I had heard it just wasnt needed. And I just got them planted at the start of fall. They had done most of the damage by the end of fall and when I finally realized it I put a pot over them with a brick on top. It was bad, some were getting rotton and mildewy. We dont have moles but I figured it was rats, squirrels or rabbits, maybe voles. As of now only one is completely without bark but still trying to survive. I hope even if you have to start new you get the figs your looking for. Stay in touch and when my neighbor with HUGE fig trees and many varietys prunes his trees I will send you some of the best ones :)
    Kim

  • rich204
    15 years ago

    Lou,

    thanks for that info.I will definitely try that.

    regards,

    Richard

  • wildforager
    15 years ago

    Lou,

    Great post, thanks for sharing. What you describe is called a bridge graft. I've met apple orchardists that have saved their trees with bridge grafts when critters have girdled them. It gives me hope that it can be done with figs as well if I ever need to. Sadly Bass' trees had nothing to bridge to otherwise that could've been a solution for him as well.

    In Gratitude,
    Little John

  • cynth55
    15 years ago

    From what I understand mice won't eat thru steel wool. You'd have to use a lot of it or strategically place it. Maybe that will help.

  • MLcom
    15 years ago

    Pruning Sealer and Tree Wound Dressing may pull this out of the fire for you , http://www.pet-dog-cat-supply-store.com/shop/index.php?page=shop-flypage-10032

    google up pruning sealer and see what pops up for you or run and go and buy some from some local source.

    A suggestion for this also is a tin box mouse trap place near the trees, bait with some bird seed and drown them daily in the winter or weekly.

    If you save those trees this year suggest the foil around them for next year with some hard ware cloth as a back up 1/4 inch.

    Hope this helps

    ML