Mouse Bark Damage: Keeping Mice From Eating Tree Bark

By: Teo Spengler

In winter, when food sources are scarce, small rodents eatwhat they can find to survive. This becomes a problem when your tree barkbecomes a mouse meal. Unfortunately, mice chewing on trees can cause seriousdamage. Read on for information on mouse bark damage as well as tips on keepingmice from eating tree bark in your yard.

Determining When Mice are Eating Tree Bark

Trees add so much to a garden or backyard. They can beexpensive to install and require regular irrigation and maintenance, but mosthomeowners find it well worth the trouble. When you first see mouse barkdamage, you may feel that your house is under attack. Just keep in mind thatsmall rodents need food to survive the winter too. The mice are eating treebark as a last resort, not to annoy you.

First, make certain it’s actually mice eating the tree bark.It’s important to be sure of the issue before you take action. Generally, ifthe bark is being eaten by mice, you will see gnawing damage at the base of thetree trunk near the ground.

When mice are eating tree bark, they may chew down throughthe bark to the cambium underneath. This disrupts the trunk’s system oftransporting water and nutrients. When mouse tree damage girdlesthe tree, the tree may not be able to recover.

Keeping Mice from Eating Tree Bark

Don’t think you have to put out poison or traps to stop micechewing on trees. You can usually start keeping mice from eating tree barkwithout killing them. When bark is being eaten by mice, especially tough trunkbark, it is because other food sources have dried up. One way to protect yourtrees is to provide mice with other food.

Many gardeners leave autumn branch trimmings on the groundbeneath trees. Branch bark is more tender than trunk bark and mice will preferit. Alternatively, you can sprinkle sunflower seeds or other food for rodentsduring the coldest months.

Another idea for keeping mice from eating tree bark is toremove all weeds and other vegetation from around the base of trees. Mice don’tlike being in the open where they can be spotted by hawks and other predators,so removing cover is a cheap and effective way to prevent mouse bark damage,and also works well for keepingmice out of the garden too.

While you are thinking of mice predators, you might alsoencourage them to hang around in your yard. Putting in perch poles is likely tobe a welcome mat for attractingbirds of prey like hawks and owls,which can itself keep mice away.

You can also prevent mice chewing on trees by placingphysical protections up around the tree trunk. For example, look for treeguards, plastic tubes you can position around your tree trunks to keep themsafe.

Look for mice and rodent repellents in your garden orhardware store. These taste bad to mice eating your tree bark, but don’tactually harm them. Still, it can be enough to prevent mouse bark damage.

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Mice can be quite frustrating when they munch on your plants and on your pantry snacks. Here’s how to prevent and control mice in the house and garden.

Mice in the Garden and Home

Mice live near humans. You may need to learn to live with mice, but you need to keep them under control before they chew your garden and house apart.

Mice are bothersome and costly, because they contaminate a great deal of food for humans—from our crops to our cupboards. They chew holes in wires and destroy houses. They also carry disease and bacteria.

Mice traps are not only inhumane but also they don’t keep mice out of your house. It’s more important to prevent mice with exclusion methods that deter mice from entering your home in the first place.

How to Keep Rats Out of Citrus Trees

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It will likely take several control measures to effectively get rid of those pesky rats feeding on your citrus trees. Coined "integrated pest management," adopting more than one control technique helps ensure pest elimination. Whether they are roof rats also called black rats or Norway rats munching on your fruit, the average homeowner can usually eradicate them from the landscape without calling in the professionals.

Prune citrus trees so they are isolated and do not touch other objects, including the ground, fences, wires, buildings and other trees. Maintain a space of about 2 to 3 feet whenever possible.

Install rat guard around the trunks of the citrus trees. Use a sheet metal or aluminum flashing that is at least 18 inches tall and wrap it around the base of the tree, overlapping it by 2 or 3 inches. Drill or poke holes with an ice pick through the overlapping metal, two on the top and two on bottom. Thread a piece of wire through the top two holes and twist to secure. Repeat on the bottom two holes. This method to secure the guard around the tree does not harm the trunk.

Pick fruit when it is first ripe. Remove dropped fruit and vegetation growing under the citrus tree, as rats do not like to be out in the open. Clear the debris in your landscape, including wood and brush piles. Keep wood piles, boxes and other items off the ground. Thin thick vegetation, such as an ivy ground cover or dense shrubs, to create a yard this is less desirable to rats. Store trash in sealed bins and do not unnecessarily keep water and food out for your pets.

Trap rats with bait or snap traps, using bacon or dried fruit as bait. Do not use poison bait traps that are labeled as indoor use only. Set traps at the base of the citrus tree and throughout the landscape where you have noticed rat activity. Secure traps in the citrus tree itself using twine. If you use an anticoagulant wax block, set it in a bait station, which can be purchased or made with a plastic or cardboard box. The bait station protects other wildlife in the landscape. Set the bait station in the citrus tree, 6 feet off the ground.

Watch the video: How to Save a Girdled Tree Bark Stripped by a Rabbit

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