The snow has melted, and I find ample tree branch clippings around the bases of my trees, in particular Evergreen. They have been pruned off by the squirrels. I noticed a comment here about using Skoot as a deterrent. It is impossible to get any kind of treatment to the upper part of the tree. How effective is using this treatment around the base of the trees? Comments appreciated.
Hello and thank you for your question.
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, or 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 as they may be encouraging squirrels to hang around.
I also have a problem with squirrels and have tried things like Skoot and mothballs and have not found these products to be effective. Another thing I have heard of is sprinkling blood meal about but I cannot vouch for its effectiveness. I have heard that coyote urine is effective. It can be obtained in granular or liquid form from big box stores such as Canadian Tire or Home Depot. If you bought the liquid kind you could spray it high on your trees. It smells bad to people too though and in addition, it would need to be reapplied after rain.
Another possibility is placing a metal band 2 ft wide around the tree, 6 ft off the ground to stop squirrels being able to climb the tree. In order for this to work on a particular tree, there can’t be any other trees within 8 ft as the squirrel will just jump from one tree to another. The band should be fastened in the back by attaching the wire on one end to springs on the other end. The springs allow the tree to grow while keeping the metal band in place.
Pest removal companies advise against trapping squirrels because new animals will simply move in and begin breeding, ultimately increasing the number of squirrels.
It is incredibly frustrating and annoying to have squirrels chewing on one’s trees, but it’s usually for a relatively short period of time and usually does not weaken the tree, although it can cause aesthetic damage. Unfortunately, there’s no sure fix for the problem and you might have to try a few things before settling on the solution for your yard.