Protecting Trees From Rodents: What To Do With Trees Damaged By Rodents

By: Teo Spengler

In winter, regular sources of food for rodents die back ordisappear. That’s why you’ll see many more trees damaged by rodents in winterthan during the growing season. Rodents that eat tree bark include everythingfrom rabbitsto voles.With a little effort, you can install rodent protection for trees and takesteps to aid trees damaged by rodents. Read on to find out how.

Rodent Tree Damage

Winter is a hard time for rodents, killing off many plantsthat they usually eat, or else covering them up with a thick layer of snow.That’s why rodents turn to trees for food.

Rodents that eat tree bark, like rabbits and miceand voles, work hard to get access to the softer, tastier inner tree barkcalled the cambium layer. The hungry creatures chew through the outer bark ofthe tree to get to this green cambium.

Rodent tree damage can be moderate, but it can also be veryserious. If rodents remove the bark all around the tree, it girdlesthe tree, effectively killing it. Roots can also be damaged by gnawing.

Rodents That Eat Tree Bark

Rabbits, voles and mice are some of the more common rodentsthat eat tree bark. Other animals like beavers,also damage trees.

You may be surprised when you see rodent tree damage muchhigher on the trunk than a rabbit or mouse could reach. But don’t forget thatsnow acts as a ladder, allowing short rodents access to higher parts of thetrunk.

The best thing you can do for trees damaged by rodents is toprune out the dead areas and have patience. A tree that hasn’t been girdled hasa fighting chance to recover.

Protecting Trees from Rodents

The most effective rodent protection for trees is to installa barrier. For shrubs, this method of protecting trees from rodents mightconsist of a wire mesh container affixed over the plant. Trees are usually toobig for this type of “cage” protection. Instead, experts recommend that you usehardware cloth (one-eighth to one-fourth-inch mesh) as a way of protectingtrees from rodents.

When you are protecting trees from rodents with hardwarecloth, you should fold the cloth to form a cylinder around the tree trunk,wrapping the tree to some 30 inches (76 cm.) above the ground and severalinches into the ground. This protects the tree from voles, rabbits and otherrodents.

For young trees, you can buy and use the white, plasticprotection tubes made to spiral around the trunks of young trees. Again, you’llneed to extend this rodent protection for trees below the soil surface so thatthe rodents can’t dig their way into it.

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Rodent Control Without Poison

Author: Marlene Affeld // Last updated on February 1, 2021 1 Comment

As the weather starts to cool, rodents such as mice, rats, chipmunks, and squirrels attempt to find a warm place to stay well fed during the cold winter months. While these rodent pests are small, they can cause huge problems for homesteaders.

Rodents contaminate food and indoor surfaces with salmonella and a diverse array of other nasty bacteria. They also carry ticks, fleas, and other parasites into the home. Rodents that infest the home can also damage furniture and chew cables and wires, creating a fire hazard.

The United States Center For Disease Control believes that mice and rats spread more than 35 diseases worldwide. These diseases are spread through contact with rodent urine, saliva, feces, or through rodent bites. Rodent diseases are also carried to humans through the bites of mites, fleas, and ticks that have fed on an infected rodent.

Field Mice

What Do Field Mice Look Like?

Field mice, also known as meadow voles, are stout rodents with coarse brown fur and light gray or white undersides. The pests are between six and seven inches in length with short, furred tails twice as long as their hind feet.

While people sometimes mistake voles for mice or moles, there are several differences between the pests. Field mice have longer fur, shorter tails, and smaller eyes than true mice. The pests also have blunt snouts rather than pointed ones and much smaller front feet than moles.

How Can I Tell if I Have a Field Mouse Problem?

It’s common to see one or two field mice on your property, especially near wooded areas with thick brush. However, spotting these signs of vole activity may suggest a more severe infestation:

  • Droppings – Field mouse feces are small, dark brown, and shaped like rice grains. Check for the pest’s waste near fences, tall grass, and outbuildings.
  • Yard and Garden Damage – These rodents eat plants, bark, and grass in gardens and yards. You may spot teeth marks on leaves or tree trunks during an infestation.
  • Tunnels and Runways – Field mice create branching paths in grass that lead to underground tunnels. It’s common to find multiple burrow entrances throughout your yard. People often notice runways in spring, when the snow melts to reveal voles’ winter feeding activity.

How Do Field Mice Get Inside Homes and Businesses?

While field mice don’t typically enter homes and workplaces, they can wander into buildings through cracks in foundations or loose doors and windows. Homeowners may also unknowingly carry them inside in bundles of firewood.

More often, the pests harm the lawns and gardens of private residences, commercial farms, and other businesses. Their small size helps them hide in tall grass, squeeze through gaps in fences, and get into orchards.

Are Field Mice Dangerous?

Field mice usually pose little threat to humans. However, people who inhale particles of an infected vole’s waste may contract hantavirus or other illnesses. In addition, rodents are known carriers of fleas and ticks, which can spread harmful bacteria.

Field mice mainly feed on seeds and grass, though they will gnaw on tree bark or roots if food is scarce. This activity, coupled with constant digging, creates an unsightly and sometimes expensive mess in lawns. A field mouse problem can even result in economic loss for farmers and gardeners.

How Can I Prevent Field Mouse Infestations?

The best way to avoid a field mouse issue is to maintain your lawn. Move any potential nesting sites, like leaf or brush piles, away from houses, office buildings, and sheds. Mowing regularly will also make it harder for the pests to dig new tunnels. If you notice any signs of an infestation in or around your home or business, contact the Waltham Pest Services team.

The Best Way to Keep Squirrels Away

While these methods of deterrence might keep squirrels away for a little while, the best option is always to consult with a wildlife removal specialist. Squirrels are small but still dangerous if threatened, and you never want to risk contracting disease.

Here at Killingsworth, we’ve handled our fair share of wildlife, so we know a thing or two about getting rid of pesky squirrels. We want to help you protect your yard and home from damage, while safely getting rid of wildlife in a humane manner.

If you are having trouble trying to keep squirrels away on your own, schedule a wildlife service . We can come and take a look at what damage they are causing and what sources are attracting them to your home in the first place, so that they never become an issue again.

Watch the video: How To Keep RATS and RODENTS away From Your Car. In Just 10 Rs

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