What causes this bark damage?

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maf, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    What causes this bark damage? I first noticed it a few weeks ago, still looks fresh. This is the only maple affected out of dozens in the same garden, a seed grown plant in a container. Squirrels visit the garden but I have never seen them pay any attention to the maples other than digging in the pots.

    fresh wound2.jpg fresh wound3.jpg fresh wound4.jpg fresh wound5.jpg
     
  2. blake

    blake Active Member 10 Years

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    Probably a squirrel. But it could be a similar rodent or rat. A squirrel did this to one of mine recently.
     

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  3. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Probably a Saber-toothed Chipumink!
     
  4. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Maf, are there any deep holes? It looked to me as if there might be from the photos. I would be suspicious of a large beetle laying eggs, and so treat the wounds with insecticide as a precautionary measure. If there are holes, use a syringe to get the product well into them.

    A saber-toothed chipmunk is too frightening to contemplate. ;)
     
  5. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    I haven't seen any rats or saber-toothed chipmunks around, but I will keep an eye out for them!

    Emery, I will check the plant again for deeper holes, but I know that most of the wounds do not have them. The area in the pictures in the original post that looks like it might be a deeper hole could be a (saber)tooth mark or somesuch, I will investigate exactly how deep it goes. Mostly the damage seems to stop cleanly at the wood layer, see the picture below:
     

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  6. JT1

    JT1 Contributor 10 Years

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    The squirrels will bite into the bark and pull or peel it off. They usually don't bite into the wood and they tend to leave the hard wood underneath undammaged. A horizontal bite and pull will result in shorter damage, a rookie assult on the tree. The experts bite and pull down, resulting in a long strip of damage along the trunk.

    In the last picture provided, you can see how they bit down on the left side (wider and deeper damage) and pulled it to the left (pulled off to a narrow point on the surface)

    The other thing they like to do is to use the tree trunk or larger horizontal limb as a scratching post. This results in some damage to the hard wood. The bark is shreaded into long narrow strips.

    It’s my understanding that lead repellant is the only thing that works. I hear it comes in a variety of sizes or caliber. Dewitt tree wrap works too, but who wants to look at that all season long, so lead repellant is the best long term solution.
     

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