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damage to beech bark

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damage to beech bark

Postby smojo » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:47 pm

Yesterday I spotted a fairly mature beech tree with extensive damage to the bark right down near ground level. There is a patch running all the way around about 3 inches from ground level up and about 8 inches high where the top layer appears to have been gnawed away by an animal. It is virtually ring barked but the tree still seems to be healthy. I wonder if it's been done very recently and the tree hasn't started to die. I was pretty miffed. Does it sound like a squirrel or deer? Can I do anything to rescue the tree. If I protect it somehow would that just encourage the animal to have a go at another tree? What the consensus folks?
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby The Barrowers » Sun Jul 13, 2014 5:18 pm

Hello How about a photo?
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby smojo » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:31 pm

Yeah, thought about that after I'd left. Been watching a vid and now fairly sure it's squirrel damage. It looked like it was just the top layer of bark. If the phloem underneath is still in tact, will the tree live I wonder?
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby SimonFisher » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:04 pm

What do you mean by fairly mature?

In our Hampshire woodland, we have lots of beech trees - some older large ones of two to three feet diameter at chest height with huge canopy and not much going on at ground level below, and lots that were planted after clear-felling following The Great Storm of 1987. Most if not all of these younger ones have suffered serious bark damage by squirrels. We've not seen damage on the big old ones. Despite many of the younger ones seemingly having been almost ring-barked, they seem to struggle on. Many are in poor shape though and certainly not ever likely to make anything other than firewood.

We're not too bothered about them as beech isn't a species that we'd choose to plant now anyway. Possibly it was a bad choice in the late eighties and early nineties given the way our climate and weather patterns are heading. I think I'm likely to spend the next few decades felling the beech for firewood and allowing the other species which do well in our wood (such as ash - ha ha ha) to fill the gaps created.

Please do post some photos. I'll take some of ours and post so we can compare.
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby Dexter's Shed » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:05 pm

this is what I do to stop the squirrels doing that

Image
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby SimonFisher » Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:32 pm

Dexter's Shed wrote:this is what I do to stop the squirrels doing that...

Yes we know, you've told us many times. Any particularly constructive reason for sharing that with us this time around? Isn't it the case that trying to control squirrels in a small area simply means that others from the surrounding area move in thus having no significant effect on numbers? Maybe you really do just like popping at them, pity we can't deal with all nuisances so easily...
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby oldclaypaws » Sun Jul 13, 2014 8:06 pm

Forest damage.jpg
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby boxerman » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:11 pm

I'm sure it's a silly question with a simple answer but..... why would squirrel eat the bark in this way?
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby smojo » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:29 am

boxerman wrote:I'm sure it's a silly question with a simple answer but..... why would squirrel eat the bark in this way?


I think it's because it contains sap with high sugar content. Certainly sycamore does as it's a member of the maple family.

What do you mean by fairly mature?


Not very good at ageing trees yet but it's diameter is probably about 30-40cm at chest height. I'm guessing it's about 40 years old. I'm going next week so I'll try to take a photo.

As for shooting them - much as I dislike them I doubt I could do that. I don't like killing anything really. The wife (who reluctantly agreed to me getting the woods) said "the day you bring a gun home - I'm leaving". Some might think that even more reason to get one but I do rather like her. :twisted: :lol:
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Re: damage to beech bark

Postby oldclaypaws » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:38 am

Welcome to the moral maze of land ownership, Smojo. I also can't contemplate the thought of killing anything, but it needs to be considered that the trees are habitat which support the rest of the ecosystem, if your trees are damaged it hits all the other species that rely on them; birds, insects, small mammals. Below is a link to the FC guide to squirrel damage and control. You are a prime candidate for damage- 10 to 40 year old trees, one of their favourite species, between April to July, and the year after a seed mast when the squirrel population will have grown. You'll note that trapping and warfarin are the most effective methods of control if you decide to go down that route, but on a large shared wood any measures will be ineffective without a joint campaign involving all the neighbouring plot owners.

I trust the squirrels obtained the necessary permissions from the council before their actions as they appear to be ignoring the TPO. :lol:

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/fcpn004.pdf/$FILE/fcpn004.pdf
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