Attempt to manage crown gall and rabbit damage

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owner, winemaker
Jun 13, 2017
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I've been growing crown gall, I mean Chambourcin, for the last 10 years. It has been a constant battle with crown gall where I end up retraining trunks every 2-3 years. Naturally this means I've never been able to achieve much more than a 25% yield. This year I'm trying something different that I hope will protect the vines. The weather last fall and this spring severely damaged my Chambourcin and I ended up grow-tubing up new trunks for 80% or so of the block. I figured this was a good opportunity to protect that work.

In researching causes of crown gall, I mostly found the winter freeze/thaw cycle blamed for the damage that lets the bacteria into the trunk. While this is a potential source of the damage, I'm more suspicious of rabbits causing damage. I've found the young pencil sized trunks sheared in half by the vermin and the bark eaten away on others. Too bad DNR won't let me poison the entire lot of them in my area.

This fall I've placed 12-inch high plastic tree guards around all the vines in the Chambourcin block. I figure this could be a win-win-win solution where the trunk is protected from rabbits, protected from the freeze-thaw, they are semi-permanent (last 3+ years), won't girdle the trunk as the trunk widens, plus the guards are cheap (about $0.50 per vine) and quick to install. I did an acre in a few hours. While placing the guards I've even noticed some rabbit damage already to the new trunks, which is supporting my theory. The results of this experiment will be years in the making, so I'll try to keep this thread updated.

For those interested, I used the 36-inch vinyl tree guards from Home page. I table-sawed them into 12-inch sections. This was cheaper than buying 12-inch ones they offered. I've also used the 40-inch ones from Stark Bro's Nurseries & Orchards Co - Since 1816. Those are a little heavier duty but cost about twice as much.
Tree Guard on Vines.jpg


Junior Member
Oct 9, 2013
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San Jose, California
Have you considered taking out the whole vineyard, letting it fallow and then replant with clean vines?
I do not know the effectiveness of this, just throwing it out there for comment.


Feb 3, 2019
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I put hardware cloth around my trunks. Haven't had issues with rabbit since.