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Author Topic: Who's cutting the oak branches off?  (Read 6451 times)

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Offline sprucebunny

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Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« on: July 28, 2004, 06:54:18 pm »
Last year it was too dry. This year it's caterpillars and what kind of mean bug is cutting off the oak branches??
The forest around my house is getting noticably thinner. Which is not good since the houses are getting closer and thicker.
It appears that there is not much one can do to help the trees but I guess I'd like to know who the enemy was.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2004, 07:30:35 pm »
Can you be a little bit more 'descriptive' of the branches that are being 'cut' ?  Are the branches so big that it causes the forest to get thinner?
Picture of a 'cut' branch?  size, length?

Red oak, white oak? both?
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Rocky_J

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2004, 07:38:19 pm »
Cicadas will kill tips of limbs. Squirrels typically chew on the base of new, succulent sprouts. Cicadas usually hit the upper canopy, causing 1/2" to 1" limbs to turn brown and die off. There are also a myriad of small insects that chew on trees but these two are a couple of the biggest.

Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2004, 08:27:53 pm »
Sorry --I wasn't descriptive. Branches from 1/2 to1" with green leaves appear cut almost smoothly in a circular fashion. They are lying on the ground so I don;t know if theyare from the top. Cicadas are possible.Are those the buzz-saw sounding things?
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2004, 09:55:34 pm »
I have hungry squirrels that chew off the ends of white oak twigs including leaves and a green acorn or two. I believe they are clever at getting food and not falling out of the tree.

Not sure this is the same culprit for the chewed off twigs that you speak of.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2004, 06:47:43 am »
I don't think it's squirrells 'cause the work is too neat and the small acorns are still there on the branch. I keep the rodents (99% red squerrills) busy w/ sunflower seeds and how to get them out of the bird feeders. The other day I went out and there was a squirrell INSIDE the bird feeder. You know one of them squirrell-proof bird feeders?!!
It's red oak branches that are being cut. Beech has some kind of crown die-back and all the deciduous trees are chewed.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2004, 08:42:49 am »
Maybe not, but the description fits well with the squirrel in my white oak this morning, as I watched these small branches with undeveloped acorns attached fall to the ground (photo shows the clippings about 6-8 inches long with leaf and green acorns, along with many green acorns lying separately on the ground).


Yours may be quite different, and maybe the squirrel is really not involved, but just happened to be there. I'll be interested if it is something else.
???
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Phorester

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2004, 10:23:05 am »

It wouldn't be cicadas, Sprucebunny.  They slice into tree branches, lay eggs, then die.  The branches then turn brown and hang on quite a long time.  They don't drop off green like you describe.

Without seeing it, I'd vote for squirrels. They're not going for the acorns on these branches.  They're going for the leaves to make their exterior nests, or to line their dens. After cutting the branches off, they tend to drop as many as they hold onto.
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Offline tawilson

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2004, 06:58:58 pm »
I've been noticing the same thing around my campground for a few years now. My vote is squirrels.
Tom

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2004, 08:59:12 pm »
could be twig girdlers, an insect that lays its eggs in the bark of a small limb, goes below the egg site and cuts the campium of the limb.  Limb dies, limb falls, insect on the ground.  Can be identified by the nature of the cut.  Smooth cut on outside all the way around, and then pulled fibers on inside of stem.
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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2004, 05:19:28 am »
That sounds more like it. The cut is smooth and usually cup-like with a few broken fibers at the center or one edge. But these guys must get carried away 'cause the leaves are still green .
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Offline Phorester

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2004, 09:46:55 am »

In any event, it should be no major problem for the tree. Just loosing the branch tips to whatever cause will not harm these big trees.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2004, 09:48:59 am »
I had a porcupine get into one of my sugar maples last winter, it moved on before winter was over. It seems it was staying in an old junk car since I found a path from car to tree. Dang varments. It was eating the bark off the end of limbs.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline beenthere

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2004, 05:41:12 pm »
Phorester
I thought your suggestion that the squirrels were collecting leaves was a good one, however this morning I checked, and the white oak acorns littering the ground are mostly just the remaining chewed caps that are missing the 'nut'.  So I am back thinking they are hungry and packing in a lunch out of the green acorns. The ground is now literally covered with branch tips and chewed acorn caps.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2004, 05:49:54 pm »
beenthere:

I too get squirrels but they are cutting green butternuts before they are matured and  since this is august already the squirrels will be hitting the white spruce cones since they are ripe in august. I've eradicated most squirrels, but I still have an occassional one. I live trapped quite  few and released them out in the woods. Now I wish someone would eradicate the coons with a .22 calipre. They only come in the middle of the night, can here them fighting at night and fur balls left from the fights. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Dirty Harry

Offline Phorester

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2004, 08:26:40 pm »

Good investigation, Beenthere. Squirrels will drop some branch tips while cutting them for both reasons.  I was assuming that since Sprucebunny had said the tips had acorns attached, that they were whole acorns and the critters were padding their abodes with leaves.  
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Offline bitternut

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2004, 09:44:15 pm »
Yep, its that time of the year when the squirrels start cutting acorns. I have been doing some tsi work and have noticed cuttings under the oaks.

SwampDonkey I have a cure for your porcupine problem. I place a 220 conibear in the entrance of their den trees. Got 12 of them this spring.




Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2004, 10:43:15 pm »
How them porkies taste....good white meat??
Gotta love connibears 8) 8) 8)
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Offline bitternut

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2004, 08:07:27 pm »
Well Buzz-sawyer I never tried one. I think sprucebunnies squirrels would be a bit tastier. If you like I can save you one next spring and you can let us all know how they taste and whether there is any white meat. Oh-yeah, you have to clean it too. I have a friend that I saved a few for so he could give them to a couple of Native Americans that used the quills. I don't think they ate them though.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Who's cutting the oak branches off?
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2004, 02:25:00 pm »
bitternut:

I was too late to get the porky, he was long gone before I discovered his damage. I think he moved up from a cedar stand they cut last fall/winter under the hill. I haven't any conibear traps but I can get one in a hurry if needed.

cheers

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry