Gnawed patch of maple tree limb
We have a mature maple tree in our yard that is approximately 20 years old. It provides great shade and we have never had any problem with it until now. There is a rectangular patch missing in an area of the bark on one limb that appears like it has been gnawed away. Could some sort of animal have done this? It is only one branch, quite high up in the tree and this branch does not hang over the fence line onto neighboring yards so I don't think it is human-caused. We continue to see smaller branches, twigs and leaves on the ground beneath this area. At first we thought it was storm damage, considering all the rain we have had (this has been ongoing since spring). But it is only one side of the tree, and just this one branch. All the other trees, bushes and flowers in the yard are fine and undisturbed. I am attaching some photos of the entire tree and a closeup of the affected branch for your best guess. Thank you.
Douglas County Colorado trees and shrubs
The damage appears to be caused from squirrels stripping the bark during the winter months when other food is scarce. The damage to the smaller twigs is also cased by the squirrels. Some ways to attempt to deter them are: an action-sensitive sprinkler to startle them, a scare owl, balloons or other birds of prey.
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My - that was fast. Thank you.