Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Gridling Trees
Name: Ellen
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

I need help!!!! Rabbits gridled three of my new trees last week. I am a first-time tree planter and I had no idea that this would happen and the folks at the nursery hadn't told us that this was a danger. The bark is gone. Is there any way I can save these trees? The trees are about seven feet tall. They are a crabapple, a dogwood, and an Eastern redbud. Is there any such thing as an artificial bark that I can put on them? Thank you for your help. Ellen

Dear Ellen,

"How can I save a tree that's been girdled by rabbits this winter? Can it be saved? That depends on several factors. How large is the tree? How much bark is girdled away? Girdling cuts off the tree's transportation system and could kill it. To prevent further damage from rabbits use a cage made of hardware mesh 1/4-inch. Enclose trunk far enough from bark to allow trunk diameter to expand as tree matures, and at least two feet higher than expected snow line. To protect against mice and voles push mesh two inches into the ground. (Protecting Trees and Shrubs Against Winter Damage, MES FO-1411-B.) "

Also after the fact, but here are some damage control and prevention techniques:


Anthony R. Brach

Hello Ellen,


There is no such thing as artificial bark. Once its gone so is your tree. Professional nurserymen protect their stock with a flexible tube that is placed around the trunk of young trees until they reach a good size. Most retail nurseries sell tubes or can help find a source. Tree wrap may also be used. Check with your supplier. Often they will replace a tree if it does not leaf out in the spring after a fall planting. Gobs of suppliers are on the internet.

Good Luck,

Wayne Vanderploeg

Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory