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Author Topic: Tree eating sheep  (Read 6821 times)

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Tree eating sheep
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2014, 10:11:12 pm »
out of curriosity how mature would a tree need to be before protection needs to come off? I've got some decent oaks and ash in the fields but all are about 8-foot dia so big old things... I want to plant perhaps a dozen more, to replace these (they are all old veterans and droping bits).....

Would 10 years be sufficient time of protection?

I know sycamores, maples etc are a no go, as Ive seen sheep go for the sugary sap so will go even on old ones, but howabouts other tree species?
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moony

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Dent
Re: Tree eating sheep
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2014, 10:31:20 pm »
Regarding Rhododendron. We had 3 sheep escape thanks to a kind walker and they all ate some thing out of the neighbours plant collection. They were all dribbling from the mouth, stood hunched and making some absolutely horrendous noises when we got home. They were all bloated so we treated them for that as at that point we didn't know they had been out. But they all did something I have never seen a sheep do before and that is vomit, and I mean projectile 10 pints comedy TV style vomit. All anyone I asked could suggest to me was that it would be Rhododendron. One went down that night in the rain and never got up again. One went down the next morning and looked emaciated by the time it eventually got up the after a day and a half and the other one never once went down. She staggered and swayed, looked dead on her feet but never gave in. Both of those have now seemingly recovered 100%. The one that died was the biggest and best ewe we had, a massive thick set Suffolk, and also the greediest so I am guessing she ate the most. The neighbour doesn't think they had any Rhododendron, and there is certainly nothing obvious on investigation, but that is what the dead one had eaten, and not much of it either so it doesn't take much to kill even a big strong ewe. The vomit from one of the living ones had one tiny leaf in it. That is it. Horrible stuff to sheep.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Tree eating sheep
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2014, 11:23:42 pm »
out of curriosity how mature would a tree need to be before protection needs to come off? I've got some decent oaks and ash in the fields but all are about 8-foot dia so big old things... I want to plant perhaps a dozen more, to replace these (they are all old veterans and droping bits).....

Would 10 years be sufficient time of protection?

I know sycamores, maples etc are a no go, as Ive seen sheep go for the sugary sap so will go even on old ones, but howabouts other tree species?

I'm not an expert, but I think trees need to be a lot bigger than 10 yrs before their bark is no longer attractive to sheep.  Oaks in particular grow very slowly, although it does depend a bit where you are.  I think the trunks would need to have grown their thick corky bark before the sheep lost interest.  Incidentally, oaks spend a third of their lives growing, a third being mature, and a third dying.  I think the total can be somewhere like 1000-1500 years, so even at 8' diameter they might not be old enough to be dying (they must be magnificent trees though...envy envy  8)).  Oaks naturally have lots of dieback of branches, and whole big limbs can come down, but the tree itself will survive to regrow those limbs. So don't give up on the oldies, but wonderful to plant young trees to create a succession  :tree: :tree:
I would think ash would need to be bigger before its bark was unattractive to sheep, but ash grows much more quickly than oak.  Source your stock carefully because of ash dieback disease - I think they are breeding up from trees which have shown no tendency to get the disease, but I don't know if they're available to buy yet.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 11:25:58 pm by Fleecewife »
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Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Tree eating sheep
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2014, 02:32:02 am »
I was going to get my young trees from the bramble/brashy bits near the trees and in the field edges so any should be local - It would be nice to leave some replacements though, Id expect a couple of the trees to be gone in the next few years ---- so nice to start getting ahead of that.

shotblastuk

  • Joined May 2013
  • Proper Gloucestershire !!
Re: Tree eating sheep
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2014, 01:54:44 pm »
what I've used effectively to protect our trees is a length of perforated land drainage(the flexible coiled stuff). We cut a length to suit and slit it length ways to go round the trunk and hold it in place if needs be with rubber ties. this will open up to the growth of the tree. Seems to stop the sheep and the goats for that matter.

 

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