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

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Ash > Trunk > Bark chewed or removed

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  • Image: Rabbit feeding, bark off tree base
  • Image: Rabbit feeding, rabbit scat

Rabbit feeding

  • Bark is completely removed from the main trunk
  • Regular scraping the size of a spoon tip can be seen in the wood
  • Small twigs are cleanly cut off with a sharp edge, at a 45 degree angle
  • Damage can occur from ground level to several feet up the trunk
  • Deep snow can allow rabbits to reach higher up the trunk
  • Damage occurs in winter
  • More information on protecting trees and shrubs from animals
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  • Image: Deer feeding, bark shredded 1
  • Image: Deer feeding, bark shredded 2
  • Image: Deer feeding, branches cut roughly

Deer feeding / Antler rubbing

  • Long lines of shredded or peeled off bark along main trunk up to 3 feet off the ground from antler rubbing. 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!)
  • 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
  • More information on protecting trees and shrubs from animals
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  • Image: Woodpeckers, bark removed
  • Image: Woodpeckers, bark up close


  • Holes are roundish and range in size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Larger holes, 1 1/2 or more inches may be nesting holes and suggest softer heartwood inside the tree
  • Bark often removed around holes
  • Woodpecker probing may indicate presence of wood boring insects under bark
  • Repetitive tapping or drumming heard
  • Birds of varying black and white patterns, often with some red, seen tapping on trees
  • More information on Woodpeckers
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  • Image: Vole feeding, plant trunk up close 1
  • Image: Vole feeding, plant trunk up close 2
  • Image: Voles in dark

Vole feeding

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