How should I prepare my fruit trees for winter?
Rabbits pose a threat to small fruit trees over winter. In winter, rabbits often gnaw on the bark of many woody plants. Heavy browsing can result in the complete girdling of small trees. Girdled fruit trees are essentially destroyed.
The best way to prevent rabbit damage to young fruit trees is to place cylinders of hardware cloth around the tree trunks. The hardware cloth cylinder should stand 1 to 2 inches out from the tree trunk and extend 10 to 12 inches above the expected snow depth. The bottom 2 inches should be buried beneath the soil.
Fruit trees planted within the last 2 or 3 years should be watered deeply before winter if the weather in fall has been dry.