Bark stripping damage to trees by grey squirrels

Impact

Bark stripping damage reduces timber quality through staining (due to fungal infection) and structural defects and ultimately reduces timber value and yield. Weakened stems may break and trees that are ring-barked will die from that point up.

Damage varies across sites and between years and is difficult to predict. Thin barked species such as sycamore, beech, oak, sweet chestnut, pine, larch and Norway spruce are most at risk with trees aged between 10 and 40 years being most vulnerable.

Examples

  • Grey squirrel damage to 18-year old planted oak in a farm woodland planting scheme
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    Grey squirrel damage to 18-year old planted oak in a farm woodland planting scheme
  • Grey squirrel bark-stripping to main stem of sycamore
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    Grey squirrel bark-stripping to main stem of sycamore
  • Fresh grey squirrel basal damage to beech
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    Fresh grey squirrel basal damage to beech (bark strips visible)
  • Windsnap to 40-year old Norway spruce following grey squirrel bark-stripping damage
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    Windsnap to 40-year old Norway spruce following grey squirrel bark-stripping damage