Young orchard trees are often girdled in winter by mice, rabbits, and sometimes by sheep. If sawed off below the injury they usually fail to grow from the stub, as buds are slow in development at that point and the sap pressure, as the heat comes on, brings about ferment and low vitality of the stub and roots. Such trees can be saved by cleft-grafting of the stub. A scion is inserted on both sides of the stub to favor the healing of the wound. If both grow the weakest one is cut back after making growth enough to help in covering the wound on that side with cell-growth. The well-established stub will give rapid growth from the strong buds of the scion and in one season develop a tree with side branches. Trees saved in this way will come into bearing about as soon as those not girdled, set at the same time.
This plan is better to save young orchard trees than inserting scions to bridge over the stem injury. But where quite large trees are disbarked in any way in the dormant season it is best to spring in scions as shown by Fig. 51. When the bark begins to peel in spring, scions somewhat longer than the space to be bridged are cut to a wedge at each end as for cleft-grafting, and by bending the scion the wedge ends are slipped between the bark and wood through openings cut above and below the injury. The parts are waxed and then the whole is covered with burlap or old cloth. After a few years such a bridged stem gives an odd appearance, as is shown by Fig. 52, as given in the Rural New Yorker by Mr. Leroy Whitford.
Fig. 51. - Saving girdled trees.
Fig. 52. - Sawed-off section of a bridged tree.