After a two week vacation I found this amount of evergreen twigs and leaves on my deck in Toronto (see picture attached). The evergreen shield I have between houses is being destroyed. When I look up into the trees I can see the snipped branches high up significantly reducing the shield from close by houses. Could you please provide me with information as to what is causing this and what I can do about it?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.
I suspect the culprits chewing off your cedar branches are your neighbourhood squirrels. I cannot tell from the photo, but if the ends are chewed off at an angle, this is the case.
Squirrels chew off the ends of branches for a number of reasons: to build nests (usually in late spring), to access the nutrients or sugars in the tree, to sharpen their teeth, out of boredom. Usually this activity only occurs for a short while and will not damage your tree.
If you have bird feeders on your property, you may want to remove them to encourage squirrels to go elsewhere for their food source.