Tree damage

Email from friendsofscp@outlook.com to Rich Murphy, Tree and Woodland Officer.

Hello Rich,
Is it vandals or deer that have damaged this tree so badly? We suspect deer but it would be unusual at this time of year when there is so much new grass around. We defer to your expertise.
FoSCP

The young oak tree’s trunk has been stripped of almost all its bark, right up into the branches; the pieces of bark that have been pulled off have not been thrown around or carried away but have been dropped at the foot of the tree. A bridge has been left between the undamaged areas of bark at the bottom and the top of the tree, almost as if the perpetrator was aware that removing all the bark would be fatal. There is at least one other tree in the Village Green woods that has been similarly stripped.

1. The discarded bark has been dropped at the foot of the tree.
2. A narrow bridging strip has been left.

Email from rich.murphy@wiltshire.gov.uk to FoSCP.

Hi,
Good question. I wouldn’t have thought that it would be deer at this time of year so that leaves two options; a) kids or b) a grey squirrel. Looking at the size of the tree and the uneven edges to the wound I’d go with the squirrel; they are still within the mating season when the males can be very destructive, and pregnant or lactating females strip trees like this for the extra nutrients under the bark.
Kind regards
Rich

3. Incriminating tooth marks; 4. one of our grey squirrels.

Google has also suggested that if there has been little rain, and water sources have dried up, squirrels will strip trees to drink the moisture under the bark.

There is always some squirrel damage in the park, but this seems exceptional; lets hope for rain and the end of the grey squirrel breeding season.


Discover more about the park’s grey squirrels:

6 thoughts on “Tree damage

  1. To be fair……I did see a grey squirrel in action, stripping some bark on Sunday.
    It took a good foot or so, all the way round in half a minute or so

    1. They don’t eat the bark; it’s the sweet sap underneath the bark that they are after. Perhaps, in dry weather, they have to strip lots of bark to find the moisture they are looking for.

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