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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Evergreen Trees and Shrubs > Spruce > Bark chewed or removed

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Spruce > Trunk or branches > Bark chewed or removed

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  • Image: Deer feeding 1
  • Image: Deer feeding 2
  • Image: Deer feeding 3

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; if the bark is removed by a deer there will be no sign of teeth marks
  • More information on Problems with deer
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  • Image: Rabbit feeding 1
  • Image: Rabbit feeding 2
  • Image: Rabbit feeding 3

Rabbit feeding

  • Bark is completely removed from all or sections of the trunk or branches
  • 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° 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
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  • Image: Vole feeding 1
  • Image: Vole feeding 2
  • Image: Vole feeding 3

Vole feeding

  • Bark is completely removed from the main trunk in irregular patches
  • Scraping the size of a fork tine can be seen in exposed wood
  • Damage occurs during winter from the ground level up to winter snow depth

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