The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Urban and Community Forestry => Topic started by: Randy88 on February 17, 2019, 05:47:22 AM

Title: girdled tree's
Post by: Randy88 on February 17, 2019, 05:47:22 AM
Was in a hurry the other day to beat a snow storm home, so didn't take much time to look, but going past a park I noticed quite a few mature tree's that had the bark girdled about two feet up off the ground and the band was about 16 inches wide, dozen's of them scattered around the park I could see from the road.      This timber/park is about two miles from our timber and was wondering what would do this to a tree.  

I never noticed what species the trees were, didn't have the time and I'd have had to park on a 100 percent snow\ice covered hill on the road to look.    The weather has been terrible to be able to go back and look.     The timber leads down to a creek, but its still almost a third of a mile to the creek, this is near the top of the hill, can't imagine it would be beavers that far from the creek and didn't look like the normal beaver damage I'd expect to see, never noticed any tracks near or away from the tree, but with the continued snow and thawing and more snow, I have no clue as to when this happened in the first place.

I've read that porcupines will eat the top growth of tree's where its tender and juicy, not sure I'd ever heard of them in our area or doing this before near the ground, I'd not expect deer to do it, since it would be at or near the snow depth level in the timber at this time of year.   Unless it was done late fall before the snow fell, it looked to me the bark was eaten, not left laying around the base of the tree, but I need to get back and look closer and do some digging in the snow to know for sure.  

I was just wondering before going, what to look for, the day I drove by there were no tracks anywhere near any of the tree's I saw, it was covered by new snow and by now, with all the snow since and what's coming today, I might not even be able to see anything, it all might be completely covered up.    

I used to live right next door to this park, for 19 years I'd have to drive by it anytime I'd left home, I've never seen anything like this before near the top of the hill, nor anything like it anywhere in my area before.

I'm sure those tree's are dead with the damage done to them and am wondering since it is close to our timber, what does it??    Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: thecfarm on February 17, 2019, 07:52:21 AM
I've see mice do that,but only a few trees maybe 2-3 inches across. Not like what you are seeing.
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: WV Sawmiller on February 17, 2019, 01:59:06 PM
   Let us know what you find. Beavers will travel a good bit further than most people think. It will be interesting to see what kind of trees they are and if they are a preferred food tree for the beavers. I don't know anything about porcupines. Only one I ever saw was up in Maine on a trip to Bar Harbor a few years ago. It was a road kill and swelled up to the size of a big beaver. I never knew they were that big.
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: bluthum on February 18, 2019, 10:11:52 AM
I'd bet you could do a close up inspection and get a good idea just examining the damage. Beavers leave obvious trails and assorted sign and a distinct track given a good imprint. I've little porcupine experience but  remember feed sign being very different. 
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: TKehl on February 18, 2019, 05:19:33 PM
Deer?   ???
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: Randy88 on February 18, 2019, 07:53:51 PM
Was just there and looked at them an hour ago, took some pictures with my cell phone and can send them to anybody's email, but can never seem to get them uploaded here.   If you want to see them, PM me you email and I'll send them to you.  

I have no idea what is doing it, they chew up and down not across the trunk, some tree's were small diameter, maybe four inches and the largest was over 24 inches and there are dozens of them chewed completely around the truck, anywhere from six inches off the ground to over two feet off the ground, a couple were on a slope, so one side is six inches off the ground and the other is over 5 feet off the ground in a complete even circle horizontally around the trunk.     I dug around in the snow, and the chips are not laying around on the ground, so I'm thinking they are eating every bit of what they bite off.   Its only through the bark and slightly into the trunk itself, but not much.    I've been around plenty of beaver over the years, its not them doing this, its too far from the creek and there is no sign of any beavers coming or going from the creek, and nothing beavers like is chewed on at all anywhere near the creek.     For beavers to go the other direction to the next creek is over a mile and across two roads and nothing on the other side of the first road has any tree damage I could see.    

If its deer damage, its different than any I'd seen before, they don't tend to chew that nice and parallel around the tree.    

As for tree species, mostly basswood and some ash, a few white oak and the snow was too deep for me to walk any farther into the timber to tell what others, you could see the rings chewed around many other tree's, just too far to walk to tell what kind of tree they were.    

I've seen horse damage before, by someone who starved their horses to death and horses will eat everything from the ground up to as high as they can reach and they tend to start on one side and chew from the from waist high down and up to head high, not around the tree in a ring, I'd think deer would be similar but that's just a guess on my part.

I stopped and talked to a couple neighbors and they hadn't noticed it and had no idea what would do it.   

There were no tracks in the snow anywhere near any of the tree's that were chewed on, but it just snowed yesterday, but there were no visible signs of anything that had walked before the snow fell either except some deer on the deer trails 50 feet away from the closest tree that had been chewed on.   

The chew marks were wider, first I thought it was done with an axe, until you looked at the bark, the top portion of the band is cut into the bark with an curve, so I don't think its done with an axe or hatchet, the bottom portion of the swath is again curved out to the bark, if it was done by someone, I'm not sure how they did it, and they never missed once to nick any bark besides the swath taken off.   I'd think it was done by teeth, nothing was clawed on and no tree was cut off or any deeper really than the bark.    It didn't appear anything stood up against the tree with its feet or left claw or toe nail marks I could see, basically the bark below and above the swath was untouched.   I dug in the snow for tracks, we've had a lot of rain this past fall and maybe I didn't dig far enough away, but up close I saw nothing but I only dug by two tree's and only part way around, maybe two feet from the tree.  

If it were deer, six inches off the ground, they'd have had to chew sideways to take the bark off, not up and down, even if they laid on the ground in front of the tree, I can't see it being possible for deer to do it.

Porcupines,  I have no idea, never seen one ever, nor heard of any locally being talked about.    

Next stop, DNR to ask them if nobody has any ideas on here.   
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: Ron Scott on February 18, 2019, 09:45:06 PM
Squirrels? Hopefully you can get some pictures posted.

Set out a game camera to maybe catch the action.
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: bitternut on February 26, 2019, 08:51:12 PM
If I saw that in my woods it would have been done by porcupines. The trees knawed on would most likely be beech or maple. How about some pictures.
Title: Re: girdled tree's
Post by: Randy88 on February 26, 2019, 10:30:33 PM
I'm not talented enough to post pictures, but I sent some photo's to another members email and he looked at them and thought it was done by someone, maybe [vandalism]in attempts to kill the tree's.      If that were the case, someone sure went to a lot of effort and time to do it, a chainsaw would do the job in a fraction of the time and effort.