How To Tell If Animal Damage Is Fatal To The Tree


Neighborhood wildlife may often be harmless, but in some instances, animals can cause fatal damage to your trees. Assessment is necessary to determine if the tree must be removed or if it can be saved from the nuisance of animals.

Trunk Girdling

Girdling occurs when a strip of bark is torn off that completely or near-completely encircles the trunk. Once girdled, nutrient flow is interrupted a tree begins to die. Larger animals, like deer, can cause girdling around the lower and mid-sections of the trunk. Small rodents are usually responsible for girdling closer to the soil line.

Placing a cage or other type of protective wrap around the trunks prevents girdling, as long as the wrap doesn't constrict trunk growth. Removal is the only option once girdling has occurred.

Crown Stripping

Crown stripping is mainly done by hungry squirrels. They will strip the more tender bark from younger branches, and chew off new branch tips and young buds. This damage is caused to both low-hanging branches and those in the upper reaches of the crown. Foliage growth will be sparse once the tree begins to leaf out, due to dead branches and chewed-off budding tips.

The tree will likely survive minor to moderate damage, so wait a year before removing it to see if it bounces back. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to control squirrels. Providing adequate nutrition and water to existing trees can help them better survive moderate squirrel damage.

Bore Holes

Bore holes can be caused by insects, which is a sure sign that the tree is ailing. Birds, like sapsuckers and woodpeckers, can also be responsible. The birds are seeking out insects living in the trunk wood or bark, so either way, insects may be the root of the problem.

In some cases, your tree service can treat the insect pests, which will cause the birds to lose interest and the tree can begin to seal the wounds as it recovers. Extensive damage or difficult-to-eradicate insect varieties may mean tree removal is the better choice.

Tip Browsing

Deer are the main culprits when it comes to tip browsing. They only nip off the tender young tips on the lower branches that are within their reach, which differentiates deer damage from squirrel damage.

The results of tip browsing are similar to that of crown stripping, so a wait-and-see approach when it comes to tree recovery is necessary. Tip browsing can be discouraged by erecting deer fencing around tender young trees until they grow tall enough to be out of reach of the deer.

Contact a tree removal service if you notice severe animal damage on your tree. 


5 April 2023

Improving The Look Of Our Trees

After we moved into our house, we knew that something had to be done about our trees. The branches looked off-kilter, and we could tell that someone had pruned them incorrectly at one time or another. Unfortunately, we weren't really sure how to repair the damage. A family friend talked with us about hiring a professional tree trimmer, and so we called them the next day. The difference that they made was astounding. They removed dead branches, trimmed up the shape, and let more sunlight through. My blog is all about improving the look of your trees by hiring a professional.