Which trees do squirrels and rabbits eat most? Only delicate and thin leafed trees?

Which trees do squirrels and rabbits eat most? Only delicate and thin leafed trees?

All of my young Japanese maple saplings have been getting eaten lately.
Sometimes my young garden/in-ground ume, persimmon and nandina too (but not nearly as bad as my maples and only a very few twigs and leaves were eaten from the ume/persimmon).

I thought it was rabbits at first (we have tons of them roaming around at night); so, I installed 3’ tall hardware-cloth on my 2 front/side-yard fences (the only entrance point, the rest of the house is surrounded by brick walls). I also propped up all my J maples and other young saplings on top of upside-down nursery pots, so the soil line is now +2.5’ high and too high for rabbits.
But, my maples were attacked again when I inspected them this morning! Also, my 6’ tall old nandina.

So, I think it is not just rabbits, but also squirrels, since they can actually climb. I rarely see squirrels around here compared to the past, but I still see them a few times per year (we don’t have any chipmunks… or, at least I have never seen one around here for 30 years).

But, I am wondering why, my other pre-bonsai and other trees/plants are left alone - black pines, junipers, satsuki/kurume azaleas, and also other trees/plants and succulents.

Do rabbits and squirrels only prefer delicate and thin leafed trees and plants? I would think they would’ve eaten my Azaleas too, because the leaves are relatively thin; but they haven’t touched them at all and they are right next to my maples.

Do any of you have your azaleas eaten by rabbits/squirrels?
I’m thinking I should maybe get more azaleas instead of maples, if that is the case.

Maybe I wlll avoid buying or growing maples in the future, if that is the specific tree they love to eat.

They also haven’t touched any of my confiers, pines, junipers (I assume the foliage is too sharp and also the sap is strong smelling and too sticky).

Personally i have not had any damage from rabbits or squirrels with tree’s. I have used wire to protect areas with seedlings. The wire needs to be quite small diameter openings and protected at ground level. The so called rabbit wire that gets larger openings as it progresses upward does not work. They just hop up and through the larger openings. At the bottom i use large rocks to discourage digging or squeezing under.
However, rabbits do a lot of damage to soft leaved shrubs in our landscape beds. The only damage i can attribute to squirrels is digging in some pots. The attraction was organic fertilizer with cotton seed meal base. Since i switched to Neem Meal as the base for my organic fertiliser that has stopped.
In your case I would suspect the rabbits are going through or under the wire! It is amazing the small spaces they can squeeze through!

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I didn’t use the cheaper/thinner chicken/rabbit wire fence with the bigger holes… I used hardware-cloth wire fence with small 1/2" square openings.

I also installed it so there’s no opening at the bottom to squeeze through. I also have concrete (one side yard) or 2-3" big landscape pebbles and 3" deep of gravel (the other side yard)… so I don’t think they could/would dig through that.

The newest bite marks on my maple and bit off branches are 4’ above grade/ground… so I don’t think it was a rabbit. The nandina, 4-5’ above grade. It had to be something that could climb. The maple was next to a brick wall… so I’m thinking a squirrel could’ve just clung on to the wall while eating it. My persimmon also had bite marks 4-5’ above grade.

Ah, yeah… I’ve heard they dig into pots, esp with organic ferts. Luckily, they havent dig into my pots yet.
I use a lot of pumice, and I heard they don’t like digging into pumice because it’s sharp. I also use chemical ferts only, that has a lot of iron and sulfer in it. So maybe they don’t like that either.

Do you have any deer in the area? They are notorious for sampling new growth.

No deer.
I think if it was deer, the entire tree would be gone lol (most of my trees are only pencil-thick saplings)

Well i have hundreds of maples in grow beds from seedlings to 3 inch trunks! Never had a bite mark from squirrels or anything else within the confines of my Bonsai nursery. Lots of squirrels in and out, they usually just spend time giving me the gears from nearby trees.
Not sure where you live but maybe there are exotic creatures lurking nearby.
I would be curious to hear when you find the culprit? Have to set up a motion detector critter cam.

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Got this stuff. They all use putrified-eggs and garlic-oil as active ingredients… but I chose the right one (Critter Ridder) because it lists even more stuff that varmints don’t like … hot peppers, dried blood and more random oils. Lol

Hello Edgar, it might be a roof rat that comes out at night. They like to eat Juniphers, Trident Maples, Blue Atlas, Beeches and Privets. One rat killed two of my Blue Atlas three years ago. I thought it was a squirrel until I decided to install a video camera. Apparently rats chew the branches off the trunk and eat them. I was told they like the sap.
It showed up at 3am, I killed it with my pellet gun.
Last year another rat began chewing on my Tridents. It took two long nights to kill that one. Didn’t show up until 5am. Both times it occurred around April - July.

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My neighbor (and also the neighborhood in general) has very large Date Palms, which make tons and tons of those orange fruit, that sometimes spills into my backyard too (if a big cluster is over my yard).

After the fruit fall (around summer time), in the morning, I see squirrels munching away those orange fruits. And the fruit fall very close to my maples, within a few feet and directly in the area.

So, I think when those fruits run out and are all eaten up in late summer, they are still attracted to the area… then they see there’s no fruit left, and settle on my maples for the last bit of food in the Fall before hibernation, lol. I think they ate up all my grapes too (I have 1 grapevine that are next to the maples too)

All of my JM saplings still have many little bright red buds (they are all basically chopstick trunks now and dormant) …Except my Golden Full Moon maple. It used to have maybe 8 pairs of plump green buds; but the aforesaid pest/squirrel/rat ate all of the buds too last month (I guess they looked appetizing, because Full Moon buds are much bigger than regular acer-palmatum buds).

My question:
Will it survive and grow next spring still after all the buds have been eaten in Nov?
Can new buds (a 2nd flush of buds) still grow in the same place where the previous buds were eaten off? It’s only late Nov… so maybe there’s still time to grow buds before spring? Or, no more and she’s a goner?

That’s awful! If the tree is strong enough, it can produce new buds where the old buds were or lower down along the branches or trunk. I’d continue caring for it as if all is well and pay close attention to signs of life when the weather starts to warm up in spring.

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Here’s another question…

Do squirrels, rabbits, rats, etc. avoid dissectums??

They eat all of my JMs (katsura, kiyohime, shishigashira, golden full moon) down to a chopstick stump, but they haven’t touched my 2 Red Dragons. They sometimes also (only slightly) nibble on my nandinas, persimmon and I think grape vine too (but all of those, not nearly as much as the JMs).

One of my RedDragons, there is a small nibble on the trunk below its’ high grafted rootstock (because RedDragons are obviously grafted on a normal acer rootstock…and they like them sweet normal acers); but they haven’t touched the foliage at all nor above the graft.

I remember when I bought them from Homedepot a few years ago, the tag said “deer resistant” …so I guess the tag was true, as it hasn’t been eaten by rabbits/squirrels/rats at all (but they continue to target the other JMs).

So… do rabbits/squirrels/rats avoid Dissectums in general, or just the Red Dragon?
Perhaps dissectums are bitter, unappetizing taste/texture or something?

Anyone have similar experiences? …where pests eat all of your JMs, but leave the Dissectums alone?

If it’s true (squirrels, rabbits, rats, pests) avoid all dissectums, then I am considering buying more of those instead. Currently, I am attracted to the Seiryu and the Viridis as my next saplings.

I haven’t heard about animals being picky like this - would be curious to hear if this were a common experience.

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Well, I’ve finally found out what is eating my JMs… Rats.

I’ve noticed my neighbor has been putting up a cage-trap on the brick-wall the past couple weeks.
I’ve never asked him about it until yesterday, when he hired the neighborhood gardener to trim his big palm tree.

I asked him what he’s been catching… and he said he’s caught 6 rats so far and continues to catch them.

Unfortunately, the gardener is unprofessional and incompetent and far from a real professional arborist.
3 or 4 of those giant palm leaves fell onto my property. 1 of them fell directly on top of my Red Dragon sapling, leaving a 5” scar and gash on the trunk (it was already planted at a 45deg angle tho).
The other 2-3 palm leaves fell on top of and around that nandina (which I don’t really care for… but that’s besides the point).

It doesn’t look too bad, but I’m thinking the fallen palm-leaf must’ve hit it hard for it to leave a gash/scrape like that, and might’ve pried and ripped the roots from the soil a little. I hope it’s okay. It’s very depressing and disappointing.

It’s as if the incompetent gardener did it on purpose or has zero courtesy or morals. How hard is it to control a simple palm leaf!? Real professional arborists can control big, heavy, cut-off trunk sections!.. palm leaves should be a breeze! Zero palm-leaves/branches are suppose to fall on the neighbors property!!