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If you make a 6-12 inch wrap of plastic wrap around the trunk about a foot off the ground, secured with tie tape, you can coat it with Tree tanglefoot (at HD or Lowe's) to make a 4-6 inch barrier to block the ants. Be sure no branches touch a fence or anything that would allow the ants to find a new path. Check the coating every couple of months, recoating if it's dried out or covered with dust, etc. The plastic keeps the trunk clean, and will last for at least a year or more.