squirrel damage (grey)

The bark of several broadleaf tree species is stripped by grey squirrels, which feed on the inner bark in spring and early summer. The most serious forestry damage is to pole-stage beech and sycamore. The bark is stripped either close to ground level or immediately above a main branch (on which the squirrel rests), and if the main stem in the upper crown is attacked it is often girdled. Grey squirrels are also pests of orchards, gardens and farm crops. The tree may be girdled, or the wound increases the risk of breakage by wind or creates a timber defect. Damage to the centre leader may result in distortion of the main stem in juvenile trees.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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