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Protecting Your Winter Trees From Varmints

It may indeed be a hard world for little things, especially in winter, but that doesn’t mean you should let rodents and deer gnaw on the bark of your trees when they’re hungry. Gnawing on bark can girdle the tree, which means that a circle or circles of outer and inner bark are chewed away. This stops nutrients from coming up from the roots and eventually kills the tree. Fortunately, there are ways you can discourage hungry varmints.

Put Up a Barrier

One way to keep hungry animals from your trees is to protect them behind a physical barrier of chicken wire or hardware screening attached to a frame. You can also roll the wire into a cylinder and anchor it into the ground with landscape pins. Make sure that the pins don’t hurt the tree’s roots and that the barrier itself doesn’t interfere with its leaves or branches.

Add a Repellent

Repellent can work, but it needs to be applied rather frequently, as it wears out quickly. You can use a repellent with a bad smell, one with a bad taste, or one that combines both. A caveat is that an animal can get used to a taste-based repellent and may even come to enjoy it. An odor-based repellent may be more useful because it can mimic the smell of a predator, a decaying corpse, or even rotten eggs. Even a very hungry deer or rodent is more likely to avoid a tree sprayed with these odors.

Wrap the Trees

Another way to deter animals is to wrap your trees. You can use fabric, proper tree wrap, or even paper. You simply wind the material up the trunk from the ground to the first layer of branches. You can leave it on all winter, but make sure to take it off in the spring to avoid moisture getting in and rotting the tree’s bark.

Be Mindful of Mulch

Mulch is excellent when it comes to protecting the roots of your trees and locking in much needed water, but it’s also a place where small animals can hide and launch attacks on your tree without you seeing them. One thing you should do anyway when it comes to mulch is keep it away from the place where the trunk meets the root, or the crown. If that area is covered up, it not only provides cover for rodents, but it can cause the bark to rot.

Clean Up Debris

Cleaning up debris such as brush piles and clearing out areas under your deck, porch, or shed discourages rabbits and rodents from building nests. You should also cut the grass near young trees to deny these animals cover.

Learn More About Discouraging Wildlife

Mice, voles, squirrels, and deer have been around for many thousands of years and are in no danger of going extinct. It’s your responsibility to protect your trees from them. To learn how to protect your trees during the winter, contact the arborists at Eastern Tree Pros in Greenville, NC.