missing leaves on new tree

Asked September 5, 2016, 4:34 PM EDT

I planted an ornamental pear tree in my front yard. About 2 months ago after a rain storm- in the morning all the leaves were missing on the tree. It looked like something had nibbled off the leaves and left the bark. I thought it was a deer because we have deer in the area. I put up a fence around the 3 foot tree, and the leaves grew back. After the tree outgrew the fence I took away the fence, and about a month later after a rain storm- once again I have no leaves on this little tree. It had about 40 leaves, and they are gone, some of them with a big bite out of them, but the rest are totally gone. Any suggestions- we have pesky squirrels. What do you think? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thankyou!!

Itasca County Minnesota

1 Response

It could be deer or squirrels. Squirrels seek sugars from the twigs and branches - eating the leaves is a bit unusual. Deer would tear at branches and twigs.

For squirrels, metal flashing around the trunk of the tree stops them from climbing. If they have some other access to the tree, however, this won't work. Fencing off the tree stops deer. Repellents work somewhat and have to be replenished frequently. But it would help if you knew which did the damage. Here are a couple of references:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/wildlife/squirrels/
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/wildlife/deer-in-the-home-landscape/