Something clawing/digging at base of tree
The photo attached is self-explanatory. I noticed this today. It may not have been done in one fell swoop, but it happened very recently. Near it is a new growth hosta that was chewed off, or stepped on, but I am not sure if the two are related. What would you guess is causing the problem? We have lots of squirrels, but it doesn't seem like a squirrel could do this. We have a wooded area behind our house. Any help would be much appreciated.
Worcester County Maryland
You did not mention what type of tree it is and we cannot identify the tree based on your photo. This type of damage usually does not occur on a healthy tree. You did not mention what they canopy looks like, is there branch dieback, etc.
Looks like a type of wildlife damage but we cannot say for sure what caused it. If the tree is an ash tree, they are declining due to the invasive emerald ash borer. Here is our website, photos of ash tree identification, and more about the borer and our blog. In general, ash trees are one of the latest trees to put out their foliage in the spring. Also, woodpeckers tend to cause blonding of the wood in search for the borers but this is usually higher on the trunk
It would be helpful to give us more information and photos of the whole tree, the trunk, etc. so we can see what you may be dealing with.