Squirrels make their homes in trees and can be relaxing and fun to watch. For the most part they don’t pose a risk to trees, but that doesn’t mean they can’t. Milam’s Tree Services addresses some of the ways squirrels cause tree damage and how to stop it!
Tree Damage Caused by Squirrels
Tree bark protects a tree’s vulnerable, growing cambium layer from the damaging effects of weather, pests and pathogens. Trees can survive some bark removed from the tree but if damage is too severe it can kill the tree. Squirrels can damage and kill trees. Seedlings and young trees can have an expandable protective wrap around their trunks. If there is a lot of competition for food, squirrels will strip tree bark to eat the inner tree bark. When the bark is removed from the tree it makes the tree vulnerable to parasites and microorganisms that can enter the tree. This can be more common in the colder months. This can be severe, if not fatal for trees that are chosen for this assault. If the inner bark is removed all away around a branch, the tree will die. If the inner bark is removed all the way around the main stem of a tree, the whole tree will most likely be lost. When emergent buds start to emerge, and leaves are also at risk when squirrels are hungry. When too many of these buds and leaves are eaten, it can stunt the growth of the tree and can make the tree look odd. If you have nut trees, then squirrels will harvest them too. When squirrels remove too many nuts it can affect the normal reproductive processes.
How to Prevent & Stop Tree Damage from Squirrels
There are several ways you can protect trees from squirrels. Trees can be fitted with large metal bands that will make it more difficult or impossible for them to climb them. Metal flashing can be placed around the trunk of the tree. The flashing needs to be at least two feet wide, or tall, and more than long enough to wrap around the tree so it can be adjusted as the tree grows and so it can be secured with screws. The top of the flashing needs to be at least five feet from the ground. There are also special chemical repellents that can be applied to deter squirrels. These repellents can keep squirrels away but can’t completely stop them from gnawing. However, it can reduce the severity of the damage. Depending on where the tree is on the property and its proximity to power lines or other structures, you can have the limbs trimmed to make it harder for them to gain access.
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You shouldn’t wait if squirrels are damaging your trees. The damage done to the tree and the health of the tree will determine if it can survive. A professional tree service like Milam’s Tree Service can give you advice and come up with the best ways to save your trees. If you’re having problems with squirrels damaging your trees, you can contact Milam’s Tree Service for help.