How Do Animals Damage Your Trees in Winter?

January 22, 2021 12:23 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Animals can be cute and cuddly, but when they hang out in your yard, they can also be quite destructive—even in the wintertime. Deer, moles, voles, rabbits and squirrels can wreak havoc on our gardens. Here’s what you need to know about animal damage to trees during the winter in Newton, MA.

How animals damage your trees

Specific animals can do different kinds of damage to your trees during the winter. Here are some of the biggest perpetrators to watch out for:

  • Deer: In the fall, male deer participate in what’s called “rutting season.” Unlike what the name seems to suggest, this is actually when male deer rub their antlers against tree bark to remove the velvet. They might not mean to damage your trees, but thin-barked varieties like redbud and birch can suffer. If the entire circumference of the bark is rubbed away, the more likely your tree is to suffer girdling—a phenomenon which interferes with the energy transfer throughout the tree. This may kill your trees, so it’s best if the deer find somewhere else to do their business.
  • Squirrels: Squirrels, like many rodents, enjoy chewing. They can access the entire tree by climbing and jumping, so no part is safe. As they chew on bark, twigs and leaves, they can cause girdling as well as open “wounds” where insects, bacteria and other pathogens can invade. If your bark is stripped and you notice claw marks, that’s probably the work of squirrels.
  • Rabbits: Like squirrels, rabbits like to chew on bark. They usually eat up to six inches from the ground, which you may not notice until the snow melts. Again, these open wounds invite infection and disease to set in.
  • Moles and voles: Moles and voles are two more types of destructive wild rodent. They, like gophers, burrow underground and can cause significant damage to your tree roots and trunk, hidden underneath a layer of snow. Eventually, you’ll notice problems when the snow melts and the tree fails to grow.

How to protect your trees

Want some tips to ensure your trees stay safe from pests? Here are our best suggestions:

  • Trap rodents: One way to cut down on the rodent population is to trap them. Baited traps will lure and kill them—we don’t recommend using poison, lest you risk killing less destructive animals, including your own pets.
  • Add mesh: Mesh helps keep deer, rabbits and rodents from chewing on tree bark. For burrowing rodents like moles and voles, you’ll need to bury the metal mesh (chicken wire is great for this) six inches into the ground. If you have deer in the area, make sure the mesh extends up the length of the trunk.
  • Make your garden inhospitable: You can spray rodent repellent around your yard to keep them away, but basic yard maintenance helps, too. For example, frequent mowing and not planting easily-matted grass helps cut down on rodents. Till the soil frequently to disrupt burrowed tunnels, and keep an eye out for plants and debris that could provide shelter for them.

If you need additional help to prevent your trees being damaged by animals in Newton, MA, call BBD Tree Service today. We can help protect your plants or remove dead and damaged trees.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *