Did an animal eat our maple tree?
In our backyard, in Silver Spring, our 5 year old maple tree (3 inch diameter), which had not grown much since its planting, has been broken, and it appears the the bark has been sheered off, as if eaten away. Small branches have also been broken. Is it possible that an animal could have done this? We could send pictures if it would help. It would help if you could tell me how to do this?
Montgomery County Maryland
This sounds like the damage done by deer during the rutting season. They are scraping the velvet off their new antlers. They particularly like to rub against young trees or sturdy large shrub trunks that are still a little flexible. Always protect trunks on young trees where the deer do this. Plastic spirals that encircle the trunk or wire fencing work. If too much bark is damaged, the tree cannot recover.
Here's more about deer and protecting from deer: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/deer