Watch Out For Squirrel Damage To Tree Bark
Those furry tree climbing comical rodents known as squirrels are either loved or hated by us humans. They are fun to watch as they chase each other around the neighborhood. The hate comes when they chew up patio furniture and then start working on a hole into your house. The padding on the patio furniture can be replaced and holes in the house can be repaired. The damage they cause to trees from eating the bark can be fatal.
The reason they eat bark is unknown. I have read theories that include teeth maintenance, water, and nutritional needs and that it’s a pain response from a pregnant doe. Whatever the reason, it can cause the death of branches and the entire tree in some cases. I have found info that says “squirrels like trees with smooth thin bark”. Apparently, not all the squirrels know this. One of our reps has had to remove a Red Oak because of squirrel damage. Bottom line is do not take bark damage from squirrels lightly.
Controlling squirrels can be challenging. First and foremost, remove the squirrel nest from your tree. I have had good luck with predator scents like fox and coyote urine. They work well in defined areas such as flowerbeds and attics. You must use a lot to be effective and they are designed as a repellent. When the squirrel is gone a permanent solution must be in installed. Hawk and owl decoys get a bad rap but I have had good luck with them. They must be placed high and moved at least weekly. I have not tried sonic repellent devices but what feedback I have read is not promising. The sure way to control squirrels is by trapping. Once trapped they should be relocated to the woods or Valhalla!
Dr. Steven Vantassel with the University of Nebraska did a webinar workshop about squirrel control in 2013. It’s just over an hour long and it has some excellent information.