Can my dogwood tree survive squirrel damage?
I live in Illinois and planted a dogwood tree which flourished until its berries became ripe this year. For the first time, the squirrels ate all the berries on the tree and almost stripped it of leaves as well. They even gnawed off the end of many twigs (see attached photo). Can the tree survive this loss, and how can we prevent this recurring next year?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Loss of the seeds on the Dogwood likely will not impact the tree unless the tree tries to put out another growth of leaves and uses a lot of energy doing so.
The fruit on a Dogwood is popular with squirrels and at least 28 bird species.
Watch the tree for any other signs of insect or disease since it may be stressed.
Treat with Neem Oil if you see any signs of trouble. This works as both an insecticide and fungicide.
The tree may recover from the bark damage but you will likely need to wait and see.
Pruning away the damaged branches can be done when the tree is dormant.
You may want to check with your local county extension office as to the legal recourse on getting rid of squirrels.