A serious threat to the young orchard that I planted in 2013 has been rabbits. This rodents have become a pest in many areas of La Mancha. They crave for food in the summer, when there is no green in the arid countryside. It is important to be aware of them because of its exponential growth and their destructive potential when they are numerous.
A young tree may be easily protected by using a 50 cm long plastic tube. However, the tube becomes tight as the tree trunk grows thicker and it opens. Second and third leaf almond trees are sensitive because the bark is not resistant enough to rabbit teeth . If the rabbit chews a whole ring around the trunk, the phloem is disrupted and the tree dies some months later. I have experienced this case once. I had to chop the trunk in the base to allow new shots during the season, which luckily will rebuild the tree.
In order to prevent this unpleasant experience to repeat, I have implemented a double barrier to rodents. A tube in the base (25 cm long) protects the more accessible part. The second barrier is a chemical repellent. Thiram products have approved uses as a fungicide, seed treatment and rodent repellent. Following label indications, I prepared a white solution that I used to paint the trunk 50 cm from the base. This repellent tastes bitter and rabbits are not in the mood to try it twice. The combination of the two barriers worked well. Rabbits do not usually damage mature trees, unless there are too many animals. In this case I use a wire mess.