What's attacking my Mountain Purple Ash

Asked June 10, 2013, 10:57 PM EDT

Something is causing small groupings of leaves to fall off my tree. It looks like Squirrels are biting them off. Also there is some bark stripping. A few years ago squirrels tore all the bark off a smaller tree. How can I protect this 25 year old beautiful tree? Do birds do this, too. I can't imagine it being anything else but squirrels.

Arapahoe County Colorado trees and shrubs

1 Response

Autumn Purple Ash is the shade tree that develops great maroon-purple fall color.
High winds can knock out some of the succulent new growth tips. Birds landing on new growth shoots may cause them to break off. Squirrels can knock off new growth shoots as they travel along branches.
Squirrels may strip bark for nesting material, moisture, nutrients or apparently, just to be annoying.
If squirrels have access to the tree from other nearby trees or from roofs there isn't a whole lot you can do. If squirrels can only access tree from its trunk, you could exclude them with homemade sheet metal or purchased devices that keep them from climbing up the tree. Some homeowners have used "Tree Tanglefoot" spread on 3-4 feet of lower trunk; it has the consistency of vaseline.