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squirrels attacking maple trees



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 29th 11, 09:54 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 130
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three feet
in diameter.


I've noticed in the past few years that fox squirrels are trying to dig
a hole in each tree by clawing and biting. Each wound is in the trunk,
about chest high, where a small limb has been removed years ago and the
trunk is growing out around the stub. So there is already a kind of
recess in the trunk, and they are trying to turn it into a hole. I have
noticed that sometimes a lot of thin sap runs out of the wound and wets
the side of the trunk. Sometimes woodpeckers also do their work on the
same wound.


What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live longer?
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  #2  
Old December 29th 11, 10:21 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 194
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

On 12/29/2011 2:54 PM, Matt wrote:
I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three feet
in diameter.


I've noticed in the past few years that fox squirrels are trying to dig
a hole in each tree by clawing and biting. Each wound is in the trunk,
about chest high, where a small limb has been removed years ago and the
trunk is growing out around the stub. So there is already a kind of
recess in the trunk, and they are trying to turn it into a hole. I have
noticed that sometimes a lot of thin sap runs out of the wound and wets
the side of the trunk. Sometimes woodpeckers also do their work on the
same wound.


What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live longer?


Make the lives of the squirrels shorter!

Don

  #3  
Old December 29th 11, 10:39 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 130
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

On 12/29/2011 03:21 PM, IGot2P wrote:
On 12/29/2011 2:54 PM, Matt wrote:
I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three feet
in diameter.


I've noticed in the past few years that fox squirrels are trying to dig
a hole in each tree by clawing and biting. Each wound is in the trunk,
about chest high, where a small limb has been removed years ago and the
trunk is growing out around the stub. So there is already a kind of
recess in the trunk, and they are trying to turn it into a hole. I have
noticed that sometimes a lot of thin sap runs out of the wound and wets
the side of the trunk. Sometimes woodpeckers also do their work on the
same wound.


What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live longer?


Make the lives of the squirrels shorter!

Don



I will probably take that as my Plan B.
  #4  
Old December 29th 11, 10:47 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 236
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

On 12/29/2011 2:54 PM, Matt wrote:
I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three
feet in diameter.


I've noticed in the past few years that fox squirrels are trying to
dig a hole in each tree by clawing and biting. Each wound is in the
trunk, about chest high, where a small limb has been removed years ago
and the trunk is growing out around the stub. So there is already a
kind of recess in the trunk, and they are trying to turn it into a
hole. I have noticed that sometimes a lot of thin sap runs out of the
wound and wets the side of the trunk. Sometimes woodpeckers also do
their work on the same wound.


What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live longer?


They can't claw away healthy wood. They're removing rotting wood to
make a nest. It won't necessarily injure the tree - this is, after
all, how wild squirrels make their homes - but if a tree has several
such holes, you may want to have an arborist give you an evaluation of
the overall health of the tree.

Usually, once you get a hole in the trunk, you get decay starting in
it. It used to be advised to fill the hole with cement, but they've
found that doesn't stem the progress of the decay. Usually you can
keep the tree well-watered and healthy for several more years,
although if the decay eventually becomes substantial you'll have to
take it down. Like I said, ask an arborist for an opinion. Some cities
have arborists on staff; if your city does, you can probably get a
free consult.

  #5  
Old December 29th 11, 10:56 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 130
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

On 12/29/2011 03:47 PM, Hell Toupee wrote:
On 12/29/2011 2:54 PM, Matt wrote:
I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three
feet in diameter.


I've noticed in the past few years that fox squirrels are trying to
dig a hole in each tree by clawing and biting. Each wound is in the
trunk, about chest high, where a small limb has been removed years ago
and the trunk is growing out around the stub. So there is already a
kind of recess in the trunk, and they are trying to turn it into a
hole. I have noticed that sometimes a lot of thin sap runs out of the
wound and wets the side of the trunk. Sometimes woodpeckers also do
their work on the same wound.


What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live longer?


They can't claw away healthy wood. They're removing rotting wood to make
a nest. It won't necessarily injure the tree - this is, after all, how
wild squirrels make their homes - but if a tree has several such holes,
you may want to have an arborist give you an evaluation of the overall
health of the tree.

Usually, once you get a hole in the trunk, you get decay starting in it.
It used to be advised to fill the hole with cement, but they've found
that doesn't stem the progress of the decay. Usually you can keep the
tree well-watered and healthy for several more years, although if the
decay eventually becomes substantial you'll have to take it down. Like I
said, ask an arborist for an opinion. Some cities have arborists on
staff; if your city does, you can probably get a free consult.




Yes, I know they are trying to provide housing to their descendants and
kill off a tree that provides no food, while they are planting acorns
all around.

They are causing injury to the outer layer of wood (the new growth
ring). They are biting and digging through bark and into healthy wood.
They are not mainly removing rotting wood. The trees are mainly healthy.
  #6  
Old December 30th 11, 12:36 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 3,749
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

"Matt" wrote in message
...

I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three feet
in diameter.


stuff snipped

What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live longer?


You can buy commercial repellents designed to deter squirrels. Gardening
stores often sell repellent sprays, which have a bitter taste that deters
squirrels from gnawing on trees. Repellents containing thiram or capsaicin
(same as the pepper spray used to repel OWS'ers g) work well to deter
squirrels. You can make your own with ground pepper or pepper oil. Some
people use shields - a 1 or 2 foot band of thin metal sheeting around the
trunk of the tree allegedly keeps squirrels from climbing above the metal
band. This remedy does not work when trees are close together or squirrels
have an aerial path to the tree trunk. Plus, it looks like hell.

Personally, I use three Hav-a-hart traps baited with pudding cups with
peanut butter smeared on the inside. I tie one of the cups just beyond the
trap treadle and the other I place at the entrance to the trap. The traps
have two doors so that it can be set to catch animals that are shy about
entering an enclosed space. I've found over the years that too many of them
were able to zoom out head first as soon as they heard the trap closing and
were able to escape before the trap closed.

Now, after they feast on the freebie at the entrance to the trap, all but
one or two of the oldest, wisest and fattest squirrels enter to get the
second cup. They walk all around it first, and even climb on top of it,
trying to avoid entering the trap. Some even leave for a while. But they
almost always come back for that second cup. Since they are nose first in
the trap, the doors swats them on the butt and they actually move further
inside and help the trap to shut.

I used to transport them in a small animal carrier to the big agricultural
park a few miles from here until one got loose in the van on the way to his
new home. Now they are relocated to squirrel heaven. I had one get into my
house when I was gone for a week. I came into the house, saw stuff strewn
around, drapes pulled down and finally, when

I went to take a leak, I saw the rim of the toilet bowl was covered with
dirt! "Who on earth," I thought, "would break into my house to stand on the
toilet with very dirty shoes?" After hours and hours of searching I found
Rocky wedged into a tiny space behind the over. I had borrowed my friend's
cat (and him) to help in the hunt. The cat was sitting in a carrier in the
living room when we heard the squirrel barking as we got near the stove. At
the time I didn't know the wide range of noises squirrels can make so I
didn't know at first WHAT was behind the oven.

I made a loopstick out of phone wire and some old oak picture framing and
yanked him out - the fattest squirrel I had ever seen - he made the oak bend
he was so heavy. Then with the squirrel fighting and chattering like a
whirling dervish, my friend opened the window and out went the squirrel and
loopstick. All the while we're doing this, the poor cat locked in the
carrier in the other room starts yowling away, apparently thinking whatever
is happening to the squirrel in the other room was going to happen to her
next. It was quiet a welcome home party.

--
Bobby G.


  #7  
Old December 30th 11, 01:07 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 13,901
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

On Thu, 29 Dec 2011 15:56:25 -0600, Matt
wrote:


They are causing injury to the outer layer of wood (the new growth
ring). They are biting and digging through bark and into healthy wood.
They are not mainly removing rotting wood. The trees are mainly healthy.


Wire cloth / mesh? Sized to order.

They need to chew because of the size of their teeth :\
  #8  
Old December 30th 11, 03:42 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,954
Default squirrels attacking maple trees



I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three feet
in diameter.


stuff snipped

What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live longer?


I'm getting ready to fabricate traps out of 55 gal barrels, and some 4" PVC.
The three foot or so PVC has a tipping point slightly off center so it
resets itself. It is open on both ends, but placed so the squirrel goes in
one end. There's a trigger on the bait. When he reaches the bait and
trigger, he's well past the balance point. When he hits the bait trigger,
the tube is released, and it pivots. His weight causes him instantly to
plummet into 18" of water. The tube resets itself under its own weight and
balance point. The bait stays put, either being peanut butter slathered
inside the tube, or pecans wired on the trigger. It's a reusable trap and
resets itself. I built one last year, and it worked good. I intend to make
four this year so we can try to keep the squirrels under control and out of
our fruit trees.

Steve


  #9  
Old December 30th 11, 04:36 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 1,563
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

Matt wrote:

I have a couple of big silver maples, 40 years old and about three
feet in diameter.

I've noticed in the past few years that fox squirrels are trying to
dig a hole in each tree by clawing and biting. Each wound is in the
trunk, about chest high, where a small limb has been removed years
ago and the trunk is growing out around the stub. So there is
already a kind of recess in the trunk, and they are trying to turn
it into a hole. I have noticed that sometimes a lot of thin sap
runs out of the wound and wets the side of the trunk.


What you should have done when the limb was removed was to perform a
correct clean-cut of the limb at the trunk and then paint over the stub
with pruning paint. The black tarry paint will water-proof the wood
(and it is wood that you've just exposed - lumber if you will) and will
prevent this wood from rotting while the tree grows over it. If you
look at exposed wood that hasn't been painted, if the area is large
enough the tree can't grow over it fast enough before it rots and
prevents the bark from completing it's growth over it, leaving a
permanent cavity that will just continue to rot and eventually become
the reason why the tree must be cut down.

With that said, I also notice that squirrels will chew on the TOP side
of horizontal branches of maples (particularly sugar maples) and will
remove large areas of bark on the top side close to the trunk (THE SIDE
YOU CAN'T SEE FROM THE GROUND) and will eventually kill the branch.

The squirrels are doing this because there is probably too many of them
in your local area and not enough food supply, and they're going after
the bark because there's not much else for them to eat.

Again, applying a thick coating of black pruning paint seems to repel
them from continuing to damage the branch, and the coating will give the
branch a fighting chance to grow it's bark back. I've done this on a
few of my maple trees, and to a chestnut, and have also applied the
paint to the top side of other branches that show no (or minimal)
squirrel damage.

What is the best way to stop the damage and make the trees live
longer?


You've got to approach this like a carpenter, and imagine that just
under the bark surface what you have is wood - lumber. And just like
your deck will rot in a few years when it's exposed rain and dampness,
so too will the inside of a tree unless you take steps to waterproof it
and prevent cavities from forming. The bark must be allowed to grow
over these exposed areas, and the bark won't or can't grow back over top
of rotted-out wood and cavities.

And maybe buy a few 40-lb bags of black-oil or striped sunflower seeds
and throw some down every few days for the squirrels to eat - instead of
them eating the bark of your trees.
  #10  
Old December 30th 11, 05:26 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 13,901
Default squirrels attacking maple trees

On Thu, 29 Dec 2011 22:36:27 -0500, Home Guy wrote:

The squirrels are doing this because there is probably too many of them
in your local area and not enough food supply, and they're going after
the bark because there's not much else for them to eat.


Reverse course.

Plan C: simmered squirrel, brown gravy and fresh biscuits.
 




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