How To Protect Your Trees From Gnawing Animals In Winter

In the coldest winters of the U.S., deer, rabbits, beavers and other plant eating animals will chew on bark for nourishment. The problem you face here is that all of these animals will strip your trees of the their protective layers, and the trees will die. There are a couple of ways you can protect your trees from hungry wildlife.

Wrap Your Trees in Burlap

Sure, it looks like you have given your trees some scratchy blankets to keep warm. Yet, this is a fool-proof method for keeping all gnawing animals away from the trees. When you wrap the lower half of the tree trunks, beavers and rabbits cannot scratch and chew through the bark on this level. Wrapping up the trees to about human head height, or six feet, forces deer, elk, caribou and moose to look for food elsewhere. Wrap burlap around the trunks two or three times, and then secure with heavy duty twine for the winter. (Long sections of plastic drainage pipe work too.)

Trim Low-Lying Branches

The lure of easy food during a hard winter is what draws wildlife to your trees. Consider trimming low-lying branches such that even the biggest elk or moose would not be interested in the next highest-up branches. These animals have been known to stand on their hind legs and nimble away at all of the twigs and more tender bark of lower branches.

Provide Some Alternatives for the Animals

If you enjoy seeing wildlife in your yard but still want them to stay away from your trees, provide some regular treats for them to enjoy. Vegetable clippings like the skins of carrots and apples do not have to go in the garbage or your garbage disposal unit. You can place them outside, away from your trees, where the animals can find them and enjoy them. Whole fruits and vegetables work too. If you have a visiting beaver or two, leave a stack of coarse firewood out where they can gnaw on it.

Protective Services for the Already Girdled Tree

If you notice that animals have already been after your trees, a tree service like R. L. Elliott Enterprises, Inc. can perform a bridge restoration. This involves a tricky bit of bark grafting that is not the typical DIY project. Once the grafting is applied, the tree service will wrap the tree loosely with wire mesh, tie it off, and let the tree adapt to the graft. The mesh will keep chewing animals from getting to the graft and remaining bark while the tree heals.