P&PDL Picture of the Week for
February 9, 2004

Gray Squirrels Damage Tree Limbs in Winter

Cliff Sadof, Extension Ornamental Entomology Specialist, Purdue University

Since early January I have noticed that sections of twig being removed from limbs of a row of little leaf linden trees. Today (Feb 11) I took advantage of the heat wave (40 F) and thought I'd take some photos of the injury. I caught this gray squirrel as he was peeling the bark from the twigs. He was gracious enough to pose for me on a red maple that he may have stripped a bit earlier. January and February is the middle of winter breeding season for gray squirrels. A second breeding season occurs from May to July.

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent gray squirrel damage to trees, other than not feeding them. Also, gray squirrels are classified as game animals in Indiana. As such, more determined and homeowners need to have a permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources before they trapping, shooting them or removing their nests.

The following pictures are most likely of squirrel damage contributed by John Woodmansee:

 

Click image to enlarge

Adult gray squirrel removing bark from Linden tree. Tree nest filled with leaves is on the right.

Adult gray squirrel with bark in mouth and stripped bark (on left).

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service