Jul 26 Who has been eating MY tree? (Part 2) By Martin By Tracy

The attached picture shows a small beech tree (approx 25cm at 1.4m). In an area dominated by sycamore, it is one of the few trees I wanted to retain in the long term, but I  fear it might not survive.

This is the second year that it has been attacked, with something making a meal of the bark from ground level to approx 30cm high. I assume that it is rabbits – but why have they attacked this tree, and none of the surrounding sycamore or birch? (You can see last years damage to the right of the tree). The bark has now been removed from over 50% of the circumference of the trunk. I have about 5 acres, with a further 70 acres in other ownership. There are many beech, ash, oak, elm, horse chestnut etc in other areas of the woods, but I haven’t seen any other similar damage at ground level. (There is plenty of evidence of squirrel damage, but this tends to be higher up the tree – and again the squirrel seem to prefer the taste of beech!)

Assuming that this is rabbit damage, this leads me to 2 further questions :
1    What is the best method of control?
2    I have been asked by ‘hobbyists’ if they can shoot rabbit, squirrel and pigeon in the woods. So far I have said no. If I invite them to come and shoot a few pests, how does that affect my insurance? Am I an employer, or should they self insure? What if they shoot a trespasser (accidentally of course)?

Any thoughts and advice, answers on the forum please! (scroll down to get to the bit about Martin’s trees)



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