Can you tell my why squirrels are pulling bark from the trunks of white oak trees? Is this of permanent damage and danger to the health of the trees?

We have been seeing a lot of the same situation in Charlotte and surrounding areas but have not found any situations where this activity has damaged the trees. All of the "damage" has been to the outer bark, amplifying the naturally exfoliating bark on white oak trees. What I have found is removal of loose bark with no damage to the cambium, the live fluid conducting tissue beneath the inner bark. There has been a handful of reports from the Clemson area of what appears to be squirrel damage to some young trees and limbs of mature trees, enough to cause plant and branch death. It is, however, the exception rather than the rule in these cases. Unfortunately, no data has been collected to suggest why the squirrels are vandalizing the trees; there appears to be no collection of material for either food or building supplies. If you continue to have concerns about your trees, the Bartlett arborist representative for your area would be happy to come out for a free inspection.

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