List of tree species damaged by squirrels

GGB

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I tried to think of a short title to get the idea across. Every fall, winter, spring and sometimes even summer some of my trees are damaged by squirrels. They bite off new growth and strip sections of bark away. I notice trees on my bench seem to be safe but I can't realistically grow out all my trees (especially 9-12') trees on benches all over my yard it's just too small and I have dogs that need space. So far they have never touched my conifers even when placed on the ground over winter. But they wreak havoc on my Japanese maples and seem to really enjoy chewing Chinese elm as well. I know others have had squirrel damage over the years but I'm wondering if it's possible to compile a list of species or even genus that seem to be magnets for destruction. I'm talking about grey squirrels specifically, I'm sure they've damaged every species there is but I'm asking if others here notice a pattern for specific targets. My hornbeam and birch seem completely ignored. I'm happy to avoid squirrel magnet trees in the future (I've already dropped JM) but I'm not sure if they would just transition to terrorizing my other species. What is your experience? Before someone tells me to shoot them or trap them... I've been relocating them for years but I live in a city. It's just not a reasonable option. plus the current residents aren't living in my attic. I'm afraid if I trap them the next round will move back into my roof like the others before them. As a final thought ... I don;t use miracle grow on my conifers but I will on a weak deciduous or rough nursery stock. I was told by an old hippie once that it makes the tree sweeter. Perhaps that's my issue?

Magnet trees:
chinese elm
Japanese maple

Safe trees:
Juniper
Pine
American hornbeam
river birch
larch
 

sorce

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I get bites on anything exposed to an easy, convenient bite, but no eating.

Sorce
 

Lorax7

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The Miracle Grow theory from your hippy friend is bunk. I don’t use Miracle Grow at all on any of my trees but have still had issues with critters chewing on trees. It’s difficult to know if it’s the squirrels or the rabbit.

I’ve only had an issue with them chewing my Japanese maples and my monkeypod (Albizia saman) thus far.

They haven’t touched my conifers, ash, crabapple, mulberry, dogwood, ficus, BRT. Strangely, they have left my Amur maples alone as well. Those trees are much older than my JM stock, so maybe only the bark on young maples is too delicious to pass by.
 

ShadyStump

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Following, and maybe if I get bored I'll do a content analysis as this develops, maybe get some useful data for everyone.

If you can give specifics as far as you know them about what wildlife you're dealing with, I'll start working on a spreadsheet.

The diversity of locations maybe prove problematic for some truly practical data, just a heads up.
 

Brad in GR

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Awesome thread topic.

Magnet trees:
- Any type of Oak (I’ve always thought since they remind them of acorns)
- JM
- Field maple

My crabs, hornbeam and American elm all got tore up this fall but I believe these were rabbits.
 

PA_Penjing

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Thanks for the input so far. @sorce I was concerned folks would chime in with that response.
@Lorax7 interesting suggestion, the age may play some part.
@Brad in GR i read that oaks will get chewed by squirrels but don’t grow them myself. I have seen rabbits brutalize the base of wild crab apples and and even chew sapling trees down completely. That may be your culprit. usually my squirrel damage isn’t extensive like a mouse or rabbit might cause
 

PA_Penjing

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Oh sorry I am GGB I only post progression threads from my PA Penjing account. So I post miscellaneous stuff from here
 

AJL

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Beech and Norway Maple regularly get bark stripped by the introduced American grey squirrels here in Britain.
Our now much rarer native Red Squirrels seem much less destructive
 

sorce

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You saw how that one dudes Burning Bush got stripped?

I reckon that's for nests, especially since it's fall.

You could probably provide better nesting material to keep them safe.

Sorce
 

ShadyStump

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You saw how that one dudes Burning Bush got stripped?

I reckon that's for nests, especially since it's fall.

You could probably provide better nesting material to keep them safe.

Sorce
I wonder if people with bird feeders or squirrel feeders get hit softer?
 

Underdog

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My neighbor feeds squirrels (and stray cats grrr) corn and peanuts which the just plant in my grow beds and larger pots. The cats just plant poop... another grrr

My thought would be that they shouldn't NEED to eat my trees, they are just being azzholes.

Large Dogwood and Ninebark from last year.
 

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PA_Penjing

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The weirdest part is they don’t always strip the bark off for nesting material. They sometimes just chew a flap and leave it hanging. And I have read the beeches were a favorite target for grey squirrels alongside oak. I expect my ground growing tridents to get bit up this spring. You guys finding trees on benches aren’t getting touched versus those in or near the ground?
 
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They will knock small trees off my bench so I try to anchor them between larger ones. I haven't noticed chewing, but they dig holes in my pots. Very annoying!
 

penumbra

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The thing is, most animals, squirrels among them, are opportunistic feeders. Having a list is a grand idea but it will be forever right and wrong at the same time. Things in nature are constantly in flux and like life, the only constant is change. As a nurseryman with 50 years experience, I have heard hundreds of tales about what deer will and will not eat and what can be done to repel them. What it boils down to is that no plant is deer proof but some are deer resistant. I assume the same applies to other critters as well.
Two short blurbs on true life deer experiences.
I have a golden taxus that has been planted for 30- 32 years. It was deer proof .........supposedly. Three years ago they started on it and now it is deer candy. It has a net over it now. They completely stripped it the past two winters.
My wife takes care of a huge estate with multiple gardens. Deer have always been a problem. When hot pepper wax came online she used it to great effect for years. Then the deer decided they preferred the plants that had been sprayed.
I can walk out my door nearly any day and see a dozen squirrels. When we moved here I was a sometimes hunter and preferred small game. I walked outside one fall with my 1022 and shot 13 in about an hour. The kids thought it was beef stew they were eating.
We also feed the squirrels and birds although all of our native trees are hickory and oak. The little buggers can be a nuisance, but generally it is digging in pots. My cats help curtail squirrel behavior pretty well.
I know a lot of you feel more strongly about it than I do, but what the hell, I am living on their land where they have been since the ice ages. I mean. my wife breaks plants too and I don't seek to repel her either.
 

Shogun610

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Hot pepper flakes or traps is what I do.. but usually my dog barks at all rabbits , squirrels and caught a mouse. So no sign of them yet. Staging mulching till ground freezes. Lehigh valley isn’t getting too cold this week so I expect January to get cold.
 

PA_Penjing

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Yeah I suppose trying to list and categorize a wild animals behavior is a little silly. I just fall into this loop of despair every autumn.
 

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