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Author Topic: Squirrel Damaged beech
Ken Hume
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Posts: 623
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Post Squirrel Damaged beech
on: April 8, 2015, 17:36
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The impact of squirrel damage to juvenile beech trees is long lasting and potentially renders an outwardly clean looking log to become worth little more than firewood

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In the example shown above a cross section of the base of a 55 year old beech tree was recovered following felling of the tree. The outside of the log looked good but inspection of the cross section after drying same for over a year reveals that the tree was damaged on several occassions when young (8 - 15 yrs) and despite attempts to heal over bark stripped wood it has not been possible for new wood to bond or fuse with old dry wood nor for bark to bark faces to merge and become one fused timber trunk.

It would therefore appear likely that any beech tree planted after 1900 is unlikely to be able to produce structurally sound timber as per beech tree plantings made a good time before the arrival of the grey squirrel. Old beech trees are therefore much more valuable from a sound timber perspective than young beech trees.

Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 623
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Post Re: Squirrel Damaged beech
on: June 9, 2015, 09:35
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During the first week of June 2015 the squirrels have suddenly launched an attack of bark stripping on the young beech trees (pd 1959).

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At first sight I thought that this damage had been done by either rabbits, hares or maybe deer. I had just seen a large rabbit running through the woods and so thought that this might be the likely suspect but further inspection of the woodland revealed that this damage was quite extensive on some trees rising up 10 - 15 ft i.e. beyond the reach of rabbits, hares or deer.

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The squirrels do not appear to eat the bark as this can be seen lying on the ground at the base of the trees.

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The squirrels are more interested in eating the newly developed sugar and starch filled cambium layer underneath the bark.

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A close up of the bark damaged area reveals the teeth scraping marks made by the squirrel.

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The problem now remains as to whether this tree should be left to recover, be allowed to deteriorate standing and become bug food or whether the damage is so extensive that it would be better consigned to the firewood pile.

Ken Hume

Ken Hume
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Posts: 623
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Post Re: Squirrel Damaged beech
on: July 8, 2022, 14:18
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Squirrels - love them or hate them. We hate them !

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Thanks to Jack Malvern of The Times for bringing this to the nation's attention.

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