See any of these tree signs?
What happened?




There's a huge chunk of bark missing off the tree!

These tree signs are most likely due to an animal scratching whether it be grizzlies rubbing their backs, or deer scratching their antlers.

Scratch their antlers? They get itchy?

Why yes, yes, they do... see, antlers fall off every year, which means, that's right, a deer grows their antlers every year. A soft velvet covers the antler each spring with blood vessels underneath delivering much needed nutrients to the fast growing antlers. Once the antlers reach their maximum for the year, the blood vessels dry up and it becomes very itchy... much like a scab does for you or me. The deer then scratches the velvet off (by say, scratching a tree)to relieve the itch.


There are funny wavy lines on this fallen tree! Evidence of Life Under Bark

Dead or dying trees are prime habitat for some insects.

One insect, the bark beetle, tunnels through underneath the bark. When the bark comes off, you can see the paths they have created.

Carpenter ants are another insect that live in trees. Many Albertans mistake these critters for termites as they go after not only wood in trees but wood in man made objects.



The leaves are all black!

That tree may be sick. Black leaves are a good sign that it has a fungus. It is called Black Leaf, funny enough.


It has little bumps on the leaves/branch!

Trees are living creatures like you and me. So when their tissues are cut or bothered, like you or me, the tissue swells. A tree may be "bothered" by insects laying eggs in the branch or leaf. The wood or leaf then swells around the eggs, encasing them. These bumps are called galls.

Insects profit by having their eggs protected from the outdoors. Then when the egg hatches, the larvae (baby insects) eat their way out.


The branches looked like they were torn off!

These tree signs are most likely caused by members of the deer family. They have scissor like jaws, that is, the top jaw doesn't line right up with the bottom, it falls to the side.

So a white tailed deer that decides to chomp down on a Red Osier Dogwood will bite down on the branch and yank backwards, creating a not so clean cut off the branch.

Clean cuts are made by animals with jaws that are directly in line with each other, such as the rabbit and the beaver (beaver cut shown in picture below).

Branch that a beaver has chewed off.



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