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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Deciduous Trees > Oak > Bark chewed or removed

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Oak > Trunk/Branches > Bark chewed or removed

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  • Image: Deer damage 1
  • Image: Deer damage 2
  • Image: Deer damage 3

Deer rubbing on young trees

  • Long lines of shredded or peeled off bark along main trunk up to 3 feet off the ground from antler rubbing.
  • Feeding occurs from the ground up to 6 feet or slightly higher. Ragged edges, same as above, also if the bark is removed by a deer there will be no sign of teeth marks
  • Wood may appear shiny or "polished"
  • Leaves and small branches (>1 inch in diameter) cut off with a rough or ragged edge (Not a clean cut!)
  • Damage is common only on young trees, old trees have thick bark and wide stem so are not used by deer for antler rubbing
  • More information on Deer feeding/antler rubbing...
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  • Image: Rabbit feeding 1
  • Image: Rabbit feeding 2

Rabbit feeding

  • Bark from young trees only is completely removed from the main trunk
  • Regular scraping the size of a spoon tip can be seen in the wood
  • Damage can occur from ground level to several feet up the trunk depending on the depth of winter snow
  • Small twigs are cleanly cut off with a sharp edge, at a 45 degree angle
  • Majority of damage occurs in winter and early spring
  • More information on Rabbit feeding...
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  • Image: Vole feeding 1
  • Image: Vole feeding 2
  • Image: Vole feeding 3

Vole feeding

  • On young trees, bark is completely removed from the main trunk in irregular patches
  • Scraping the size of a fork tine can be seen in exposed wood
  • Damage occurs during winter from the ground level up to winter snow depth
  • Trees and shrubs appear to “die suddenly” during the growing season, especially if they experience any drought stress
  • More information on Vole feeding...
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  • Image: Twig girdler 1
  • Image: Twig girdler 2
  • Image: Twig girdler 3

Twig girdler
Oncideres cingulata

  • Small branches on ground; outer half is smooth while center is rough from where it has broken off
  • Dead twigs may be scattered in canopy
  • Adult is about 9/16 inch long, grayish brown with scattered yellow spots, with antenna as long as its body
  • Damage seen in August and September
  • More information on Twig girdler...
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  • Image: Lightning injury 1

Lightning injury

  • Continuous, sporadic or twisting, vertical stripping from bark torn away on main stem or other large branches
  • Cracks or splits in bark from lightning strikes begin in the canopy and extend to the ground line
  • Often, large pieces of wood strewn about the hit tree
  • Death more common on trees within red oak group; strikes more common when oaks are tallest in area

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