Pest Alert: Squirrels are stripping your trees!
June 16, 2014
This year we’ve seen a big increase in squirrel damage to trees around the DFW area. How, you ask, can these small critters cause so much damage our urban trees?
Squirrels commonly strip the bark off branches as well as chew off smaller branches and twigs. This bark stripping leaves open wounds on your tree, which allow pests and disease to creep in. This is especially dangerous in spring when oak wilt transmission is at its peak.
Creating open wounds is always something you want to avoid in spring, which is why we try to avoid pruning oak trees in spring when we can. If pruning on an oak must be done in spring, it should be done by a trained and certified arborist that knows the best techniques for minimizing the spread of oak wilt disease.
So why the big increase in squirrel damage? While there doesn’t seem to be confirmed reasons why squirrels chew on bark, there are a few common theories:
- Squirrels may be searching for food by eating the inner bark, or are looking for nesting materials.
- Pregnant females often don’t eat prior to giving birth – the bark stripping may be their way of responding to the pain.
- They may be searching for water, although this is a weak theory considering that they will strip bark even when there is regular rainfall.
Others theorize squirrels may also just be looking for ways to entertain or occupy themselves and bark stripping seems pretty fun to them! Whatever the reason, the damage is still done.
If you are seeing excessive squirrel damage to your trees, please call us for a consultation to begin the healing process and reduce further damage. Squirrel damage also warrants preventative treatments for oak wilt, so don’t wait!