Knowledgebase

Tree ripper #816955

Asked November 27, 2022, 4:41 PM EST

What cruel animal could have so wantonly and recklessly striped the bark off my poor tree?

Cuyahoga County Ohio

Expert Response

I am so sorry this happened to your tree. It is most likely, deer damage. It is not uncommon for bucks (male deer) to rub 
the velvety fuzz off their antlers on tree trunks and cause this severe damage to a tree very quickly. https://awaytogarden.com/discouraging-deer-garden-ohio-states-marne-titchenell/
Add to this the fact that it is rutting/mating season for deer https://bygl.osu.edu/node/607 so they are more active and on the move.
Here are some suggestions for what you can do now: 
1. Put something like a protective ring of hardware cloth around the trunk of your tree(s) immediately to protect from further damage. (See fact sheet*** listed below for more detail on protecting trees from deer damage.)
2. Do not tape or paint the wound with anything, it will hinder the tree's natural healing process which requires air circulation.
3. Care for the roots by applying 2-3 inches of mulch (like shredded leaves) which will protect the tree and provide slow nutrients to the tree as it heals. Do not allow mulch to touch the actual tree trunk. 
4. The good news is that it may be possible for your tree to recover over time. Although the wound is significant, it does not encircle the entire tree trunk. The growing layer of the tree, cambium, is a very thin layer right beneath the bark. https://www.fs.usda.gov/learn/trees/anatomy-of-tree
5. Longer term, consider fencing around the tree(s) and/or your yard. Here is some information from University of Minnesota Extension: 
***How to manage deer damage on trees and other plants 
https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/white-tailed-deer-damage#netting%2C-tubes-or-other-protective-structures-1880562

Here is more information from Purdue: 
Tree wounds and healing
https://www.purdue.edu/fnr/extension/tree-wounds-and-healing/



Carolyn Hufford - MGV Replied November 28, 2022, 10:38 AM EST
Great, full answer, thanks!
I'm going to find that buck and take him on, toe to toe, or however it works with those critters

John Holian  

From: askextension=eduworks.com@mg.eduworks.com <askextension=eduworks.com@mg.eduworks.com> on behalf of Ask Extension <askextension@eduworks.com>
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2022 10:38 AM
To: jholian1 <jholian1@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: Tree ripper (#0086884)
 
The Question Asker Replied November 28, 2022, 4:57 PM EST
Dear John, 
Just be careful. Bucks can be dangerous during rutting times.

"The bucks in this photo are large and powerful animals with sharp antlers that can do a lot of damage to the human body. Even if you aren't the target of the antlers, just getting caught up in a situation like this could be a very bad experience and is something to be avoided at all costs. Like all wildlife, deer are best observed at a distance. Don't feed them or try to interfere with their behaviors in any way." https://www.army.mil/article/70422/during_rutting_season_deer_can_be_dangerous_neighbors



Carolyn Hufford - MGV Replied November 28, 2022, 7:51 PM EST

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