Squirrels Damaging Your Trees This Year?

After caring for them all season long, the last thing you want to see is a squirrel feasting upon your trees. After multiple freezes, food sources are in short supply for these furry creatures, so they’ve turned to our trees for nutrition. You’ll want to identify squirrel damage early on before they cause enough damage to kill the branches they’ve been snacking on.

If you are unsure if squirrels are damaging your trees, call Swingle, the Denver tree service experts, for a free evaluation.

Why Are Squirrels Damaging Your Trees This Year?

After the freeze last November and again during Mother’s Day, many trees and flowers were heavily damaged, leaving a limited food supply for squirrels to eat. The freeze affected many apple trees, berry bushes, and nut trees throughout the area. With a limited food supply, squirrels began chewing the bark off of trees, which holds nutrients and sugars produced by the tree. Some trees have been affected more than others, which include elm, honey locust, aspen, cottonwood, and Russian olive trees.

Squirrels Damaging Tree Bark

Squirrel damage on an ash tree.

What Can Happen to the Tree?

The health of your tree depends on the degree of damage that was caused by the squirrel. Removal of bark leaves the tree vulnerable to weather and various pests. Keeping an eye on the tree’s exposed area is crucial in order to avoid limbs from dying or harmful pests easily gaining access to the trees system.

How to prevent squirrels from eating on your trees?

Hot sauce: There are many ways to help prevent squirrels from eating on your trees. A natural way to prevent damage to your trees consists of sprinkling cayenne pepper or spraying a mixture of Tabasco sauce and water on the affected area of your tree. Trapping is another solution, however once you trap them, new squirrels will quickly replace the old ones. These preventive solutions are temporary fixes and require time and re-application.

Squirrels Damaging Tree Bark with Hot Sauce

Hot sauce application applied to damaged area.


Alternative food source: Introduce an alternative food source away from your tree(s) and keep it well-stocked. Certain bird feeders that allow the squirrel access to the food source will suffice.

Make sure to look for squirrel damage that could affect the health of your tree(s) down the road. Squirrel damage is likely to continue as they start to fatten up for winter.