The purpose of this post is not to discuss the difference between rabbits and hares, but to discuss a way to keep them from killing the trees in your orchard.
We noticed that one of our apple trees had some bark damage several inches above the snow line.
We don’t know for sure if it was the Cottontails (rabbit) or Jack Rabbits (hares) that are doing the nibbling. But for sure the tracks say it was either a rabbit or a hare that was making a treat of our apple tree. So we needed to solve the problem. The thing you want to do is to make it so that the rabbit either can’t eat the bark, or is unable to lift itself up comfortably to eat the bark.
To solve this problem, we used some old hardware cloth.
I cut the hardware cloth into squares, and then created a circle around the base of the tree. I also made sure that I put the cut ends up. This would make it so that if the rabbit/hare tried to rest on it to get above it, the sharp ends of the wire would keep them from resting their paws on them.
I did this around all of the trees in the orchard. I would like to note, that we do have black flex drain pipe around the bottom of the trees to protect, but with the recent snow and drifting, the snow is now above the drain pipe.
Maybe not the most elegant solution, but time will tell if it is a productive solution. Hopefully this cheap fix will keep the rabbits/hares are bay and help us be able to survive the winter and bring us fruit in the next few years.