Damaged Cedar Trees


Spring 2021, I saw some foliage of one Cedar Tree that came off one branch of the Cedar tree. Then in January 2022, I noticed on ground next to the same Cedar tree A LOT of cedar tree foliage that was tripped from the branches. Also, I noticed that the Cut made on the Foliage was ON an Angle for all the cut foliage very precise! please let me know who is doing this damage, also note that all the damaged is starting at the TOP of the Tree, also, please note that the Second tree is getting damaged too, in the picture you will see the foliage on the Grass where I found it, as well at the TOP of the Tree that has been pilled up!
Thank you very much, my trees are about 20 feet tale and big. I need help please.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners concerning your Emerald Cedar trees (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd).  Your photo does show considerable damage done to your otherwise very healthy mature Emerald Cedars.  This damage is caused by squirrels chewing off the branches to use for building nests, sharpening their teeth or capturing nutrients.  Squirrels are definitely a nuisance and challenging to deal with.   We get many questions about squirrels from gardeners, but I’ll refer you to two previous answers posted on our site:  Tree Damage by Squirrels and  Problems with squirrels.  Note that we DO NOT recommend you use cayenne pepper or hot chili peppers as a repellent as they cause pain to the squirrels.

A few additional ideas I’ve found posted from homeowners with similar damage to their Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd trees are listed below.  Note that I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of these measures.  Many of these homeowners had many years with no issues until an aggressive squirrel moved into their area.

  1. Drape aluminum foil (or tulle) in a spiral around the part of the tree where the squirrels are chewing the branches off, as well as in any notches or cavities of the tree where they may make a nest. The noise and texture of the foil may deter them.
  2. Buy a smaller, similar cedar, cut off the branches, and lay them on the ground. Hopefully the squirrels use these branches for their nest and leave your mature trees alone.

You might also call a certified Pest Control specialist for their advice but based on my experience, they won’t recommend relocating them as other squirrels will take their place.

Hope some of these solutions work for you and you can continue to ensure your beautiful Emerald Cedars.