Tree experts, got a question...

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Elleth
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Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Elleth »

... today on a walk I saw a number of trees had significant bark damage. BUT unlike the mouse and beaver damage I've seen before, this was highup. Not just deer-scrape height, but all the way to the top. Some were totally stripped of bark from about 4-5' all the way up. I do see I think little rodent teethmarks in the wood beneath, but I couldn't easily get close enough to see for certain. Mostly this was along a logging road, and mostly it was birch.

Is this some new pest I need to be worrying about, or just the kind of thing squirrels do during a hard winter? I'd not seen damage this extensive since beavers passed through about eight years ago, but I've never seen beavers go for the top of trees.
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Greg
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Greg »

We have a LOT of squirrel damage like that. They chew on the bark in various places, which over time causes weak, rotting exposed upper limbs which tend then to bow downward and then eventually peel or break. Doesn't say for certain that's your pest, but yes, our squirrels can go to town on some species. They tend to rotate depending on the season, too. They go nuts on the sugar maples when the sap is running, for example...everybody loves Sugar.
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by ForgeCorvus »

Elleth wrote: Sat Apr 16, 2022 9:01 pm ......... but I've never seen beavers go for the top of trees.
Beavers love the tops of trees, but being short and not very good climbers they have to bring the tops to their level :-)
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Elleth
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Elleth »

Greg - THANK YOU! Very good to get the confirmation!
ForgeCorvus - LOL!!! :mrgreen:
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Ben Sinister »

Sorry for being late, but I just joined.

It could be porcupine.

"Porcupines prefer the young bark, leaves, and terminal twigs commonly found high up in the crown of a mature tree, but will strip bark anywhere on a tree’s trunk or branches. Like beavers, porcupines prefer to eat the nutritious inner tree bark or phloem. To get to it they have to remove the bark all the way down to the cambium layer of the tree, which is where the wood begins"

https://forestry.usu.edu/news/utah-fore ... nd%20birds.
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Elleth
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Elleth »

Ben, thank you!

The local state agent said the same.

Squirrel or porcupine, it's a mess. I finally got a picture of one of the trees -
bark-damage.jpg
bark-damage.jpg (167.24 KiB) Viewed 176 times
It only got about a dozen of them I think, but man... not a one is gonna live. :(
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Greg
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Greg »

That's oddly parallel and consistent. Hmmm...
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Tom_Ranger
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Tom_Ranger »

Greg wrote: Mon May 09, 2022 11:57 pm That's oddly parallel and consistent. Hmmm...
Yes, and I can think of only one animal that could or would do that... Humans.
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Jack »

That's definitely looks like the work of a porcupine
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Greg
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Greg »

Tom_Ranger wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 1:41 am
Greg wrote: Mon May 09, 2022 11:57 pm That's oddly parallel and consistent. Hmmm...
Yes, and I can think of only one animal that could or would do that... Humans.
I was actually leaning towards insect damage. The cambium has been scratched (nibbled?) at in straight lines...it's quite common for a larval-stage insect to do similar things. Each wood-boring insect generally has its own pattern of damage, but that could result in the bark being peeled back by birds or rodents that are going after the larvae, etc., resulting in the 2-stage damage we see here.
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Elleth
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Re: Tree experts, got a question...

Post by Elleth »

I think you may be onto something Greg - the thing I'm wondering about though.. if you look at the cut/chewed edge of the bark towards the top of the picture, the "serrations" look to be about the same size as the streaks in the inner bark. That could be coincidence, but it argues for little rodent teeth I think?

On the other hand, those dark spots in the body of the tree: you think that could be bird damage? Either going for the inner bark as well, or perhaps the grubs you mention?

Grump grump.

these trees were my friends... :(
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