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what's eating my trees? [Archive] - Arbor Day Forum

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enginehouse2
02-26-2005, 08:25 PM
We planted some sapling trees last fall. They are ornamental plum, pear, and a pin oak. They were doing fine last fall. I noticed today that something has gnawed the the tops off. These trees are between 11/2 to 2 feet tall. They aren't much larger than a twig in diameter. The marks on the stems look like what a beaver does to a log. What could be doing this in central Illinois in the winter?

saccharum
02-26-2005, 09:28 PM
Are you in the city or the country?

Could be a few things, depending on how big the tooth marks, etc. Deer munch on trees, and usually they'll just shear the top of a sapling off. Porcupines are notorious tree munchers, and they'll gnaw on whatever they can reach or climb. I've seen a whole nursery bed taken down by a single bunny that found a way through the rabbit fence we'd erected for winter. A number of rodents cause various sorts of damage.

Winter is a common time to lose trees from this sort of browsing, because the easier, tastier foods are hard to come by.

pwk16
03-02-2005, 01:25 PM
If the tops of the trees look as if they've been snipped off cleanly by a prankster with sharp scissors then you have a rabbit problem. It's nothing that a bit of chickenwire won't fix. You can leave the trees alone for a few years and they will develop a new leader. Should they develop two leaders cut off the weaker and smaller of the two.

enginehouse2
03-03-2005, 07:56 PM
It does appear they were snipped with scissors. More like pinking shears as the edges have a gnawed appearance. We are in a rural area and there are rabbits present.