Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Attack of the tree-killing squirrels!

October 16, 2014  

by Tony Tucci

Those frisky, seemingly fun-loving squirrels skittering over the branches in your yard might actually be killing your trees.

It might sound nuts, but acorns aren ‘t the only thing the squirrels are after. They’re eating the bark, said Maggie Ambrosino, an Oak Hill arborist, and that’s killing the tree branches. She said she is seeing more damage this year than ever before.

We can blame it on the drought. Squirrels need water, and one source of water is the tree’s vascular system.

Ambrosino, owner of Brown and Green Tree Care, said the squirrels remove the bark all around a branch, exposing the vascular system, which carries water and nutrients. The branch then dies.

City of Austin Arborist Michael Embesi said that while the squirrels are killing tree branches, he has never known an entire tree to be killed. He said cedar elms are suffering the most damage, but other varieties, including oaks, are high on the list.

Embesi said trapping and relocating the squirrels is probably the best remedy.

“It’s somewhat of a mystery,” Embesi said.

“Squirrels and trees co-exist. There are times when they cause a problem, like when they steal pecans. Most of the time people try to relocate them, but it’s a short-term solution.”


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