This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
In the case of young plantations, where it would be inadvisable to exclude hares and rabbits on account of food in the shape of gorse, broom, mountain-ash and other scrub, with coarse grasses and sometimes heather being available, the trees in danger of losing their leading growths or having the stems barked may be protected by either home-made or purchased smears. The former usually consist of fresh cow-dung, coal-tar or slaked lime, brought to oil-paint consistency with urine, as advised under deer; or 1 peck fresh cowdung, ½ peck quicklime, ½ lb. flowers of sulphur and ¼ lb. lampblack, mixing the whole into a thick paint with urine and soapsuds; or equal proportions of sulphur, soot and lime, made into a thick cream with cow-manure; or lime-water and cow-manure made strong. These may be used on any part of the plant, but the following is for stem use: 1 peck of quicklime, slaked with soft water (old soapsuds are best): when hot add 1/2 gallon crude carbolic acid, 1/2 gallon gas-tar and 4 lb. of sulphur. Stir well, and about the time of frost wash the stems as high as one can reach. This is to prevent girdling by any kind of animal.
Taylor's lime and sulphur mixture (p. 190) brushed on the parts within reach of hares and rabbits also prevent their barking the trees.
Simpler, and less objectionable in appearance, are the proprietary preparations named "Tree Protective Composition" (Messrs. Dickson, Ltd., Chester), "Smearoleum" (Thomas & Co., Ltd., Ceres Works, Liverpool), which may be used on stems and leading growths without injury to the trees at any stage of their development. The articles named are easily applied to stems with a brush, and to newly planted small conifers by india-rubber gloves smeared in the "palms" with the preparation, and placing the feet, or at least one foot, by the side of each plant collar, then, with the gloved hands draw upwards to the apex, the needles of conifers or the young shoots of low plants are so coated as to prevent attack by ground game. Trees with clear stems must have these smeared from the ground to a height of a yard or more, remembering that newly planted subjects are more liable to attack than established, and that the period of attack extends from October to March inclusive, though most pronounced during severe and prolonged frost and snow.