Their diet changes seasonally. Carrie Frickman / DJ Case and Associates Fencing trees and gardens is the most effective way to prevent porcupine damage. Whatever the cause might be, sometimes our trees can incur trunk damage. In addition, trees that are killed and felled due to porcupine damage can provide shelter and nest sites for other wildlife. Porcupines occasionally cause damage in sugar maple stands, apple orchards, and cultivated crops. Stripped bark exposes trees to disease, and those affected often die. If you are finding damage on your property, you will need to act. Porcupines are mammals. Porcupines expose tree roots, girdle tree trunks, and clip branches off trees with their chewing. In the spring and summer, porcupines shift to eating berries, seeds, grasses, leaves, roots and stems. Damage. “The damage associated with porcupines is generally a result of their habit of gnawing on trees and wood products, [especially] during the winter when woody plants make up the bulk of the porcupine’s diet,” said Griffin Dill, integrated pest management specialist at the University of Maine. Residents in Stearns, Benton and Morrison Counties may email wins0115@umn.edu or call 320-255-6169 ext. 1999. Extension in your Community > Porcupines in trees cause significant damage and can open trees up to diseases and insect infestations. Stearns > Porcupines in Utah will damage fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and some agronomic crops like alfalfa, and grain if they are present. County Horticulture Educator > On larger trees that may be difficult. The beaver is the only rodent in North America that is larger than the North American porcupine. For this reason, conflicts with humans can be avoided and are unlikely. The spray nozzles on these products are also unlikely to reach the tops of trees where the porcupines are doing the damage. Porcupines can cause significant damage to personal and public property by feeding on trees. Contrary to some wildlife folklore, porcupines cannot “shoot” quills, rather their barbed quills penetrate and stick upon contact with any animal or object that it finds threatening. This will weaken the tree and make it more vulnerable to damage from diseases, insects, and birds. You can check the Utah code on collecting nongame animals by visiting the UDWR website https://wildlife.utah.gov/index.php/r657-19.html. The name “porcupine” is very appropriate, coming as it does from the Latin porcus, meaning swine, and spina, meaning thorn. Sometimes they are not noticed until a dog or livestock show up with quills in their nose and on their face. If porcupines are causing problems for your trees, you can protect them by placing a 60 – 75 cm metal band around each tree at a height of about 1 m off the ground. Many people consider porcupines to be a nuisance because of the damage they cause to trees and wooden structures. If both porcupines and squirrels can feed on bark in the crowns of trees, how do you know which one is doing the damage? Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. Vegetables; Another thing they love to eat is vegetables. Bark, living cambial tissue, soft tender stems, twigs, leaves, and fruit of trees are the major food source of porcupines. Multiple trees or an entire area can be enclosed in a single fence. They are vegetarians. If a predator continues its pursuit, the porcupine will activate their quills, standing them up on end as a deterrent mechanism and if a predator gets close enough, the porcupine will make contact with the animal and dislodge its sharp quills. B-1073.19 pg. Porcupines are creatures of habit and will use the same feeding runs night after night. Damaged tree bark is not just an aesthetic problem but it can be a pretty serious health issue for your tree. The damage reported starts at the top of the tree with the bark being stripped off the of the upper branches and progresses to the trunk. There are not overly effective and practical means of control for the porcupine when it comes to your trees. Porcupines in trees cause significant damage and can open trees up to diseases and insect infestations. While porcupines may be a nuisance to homeowners with ornamental or fruit trees, their presence in the forest improves the function and diversity of these ecosystems. This is particularly troublesome because porcupines prefer trees with smooth bark—as most decorative trees and shrubs have. Porcupines will also warn predators by making loud vocalizations. Olson, R. & A. M. Lewis. Most animal control officers suggest moving porcupines 10-20 miles away in a wooded area that is not inhabited by humans. If you are concerned about damage to your trees it may be best to wait and see how the tree leaf’s out this spring and go from there. Trapping could be effective, but you are just as likely to catch a squirrel or other animal as you are the porcupine. Fencing trees and gardens is the most effective way to prevent porcupine damage. Porcupine damage to cottonwood trees along Montana's streams and rivers has at times been serious. CLOUD, Minn. (3/4/20) — Over the past month many people have called into the Extension office to report damage to their trees. Due to their heavy bodies and short legs, porcupines cannot easily navigate deep snow, therefore wintertime adds extra pressure on this strict plant eater to find accessible and nutritionally dense food. They have their young from April to May and typically give birth to one ten-inch long “porcupette” that remains with its mother throughout the summer. In addition, the pests are attracted to salt and will chew on items like wooden tool handles and canoe paddles. If you are concerned about your tree or have questions, please reach out to your local Extension Educator. Porcupines expose tree roots, girdle tree trunks, and clip branches off trees with their chewing. Trees with thin, smooth bark tend to be preferred, but any tree could potentially be at risk. If the damage isn’t severe enough to kill the tree it will be more susceptible to insects and disease. This becomes even more important if the tree is near your home or other structure. The amount of damage will determine whether or not the tree or shrub can survive. This description fits the damage done by porcupines. This necessity of nature has led to the porcupine being disliked for the damage it can cause to trees near homes or businesses. They al… Porcupines can cause significant damage to pine trees. Utah is centrally located in porcupine territory, but in Utah they are usually found in the woods away from people. Interestingly, the quills of the North American porcupine are medicated with a topical antibiotic – a strategy that evolved to protect against “self-quilling”. Trees will die if the damage is severe enough. Porcupines primarily feed in the tree canopy throughout the winter by chewing evergreen needles, bark, twigs, and buds off trees. Articles Completely enclose small trees with wire baskets or wrap the trunks of valuable larger trees with 30-inch bands of aluminum flashing at the base. If you are facing a nuisance porcupine on your property, we recommend contacting a professional wildlife control officer for assistance in mitigating conflicts. All of these things have the potential to kill a tree because they expose the tree to insects, birds, disease and decay. Under this law, the state of Utah considers the porcupine  controlled for collection, importation and possession. Voles, rabbits, and squirrels are also known to do damage. Porcupines are also attracted to the resins in plywood (often used in outdoor decks, outbuildings, etc.) In cooler weather, a porcupine feeds on conifer needles and gnaws on bark, which can cause conflict when it chooses to dine on a property owner's favorite oak. Porcupines have their young from April to May and the juveniles stay with the females for the first summer of their lives. We explain specific techniques for protecting trees and property from porcupine damage. In addition to plant material, porcupines crave salt and are attracted to objects that have salty human sweat on them, such as ax handles, boat oars, etc. Males are larger than females. More importantly, the kind of damage they typically do to a tree is significant and will quickly cause stress making it vulnerable to disease. For example, porcupine damage can suppress some tree growth in the forest, which may open up the forest canopy and permit sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor. Note: The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources provides the information on this page as a public service. ... hi , i have a hungry porcupine that last night chewed off quite a bit of bark off my little leaf linden. Protection of trees through regular fencing, low strung electrical fencing, and trapping are the most efficient methods for reducing damage.Â. A porcupine can strip a bark off a tree and kill it. If a porcupine chews off an isolated section on a tree’s trunk, the bark will, in time, close over the wound. If you encounter a porcupine, you should back away slowly and leave it alone. The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), also known as the Canadian porcupine, is a large rodent in the New World porcupine family. 1. Animal repellent sprays may work but need to be reapplied every 40 days or after rain. This will prevent porcupines from being able to climb your trees. There is also a chance that the porcupine would move back into the area after being relocated. Grooved tooth marks approximately 5 mm wide are characteristic of porcupine damage. How to get rid of porcupines. One product however, Thiram is registered as a repellent for rodents and rabbits, and has incidentally repelled porcupines, as well. For a gray squirrel the incisor widths vary from 1.3-1.7 mm, for a porcupine it’s nearly 3 … Seeing squirrels or rabbits near your trees does not necessarily mean that they are eating them. We explain specific techniques for protecting trees and property from porcupine damage. Stripping bark can girdle trees, resulting in branch dieback which shows up the year following the damage. Despite this, no published research to date has demonstrated a product to be effective against repelling porcupines.Â, Porcupine are constantly moving through forested areas in search of food and shelter, making complete removal, relocation, or eradication of these animals nearly impossible. If a porcupine has young, transport the entire family if possible. Short-legged and stout, a porcupine has a pronounced arch to its back. University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension. Porcupines do also pose a … While porcupines may be a nuisance to homeowners with ornamental or fruit trees, their presence in the forest improves the function and diversity of these ecosystems. Economic losses to forest stands can be quite substantial with commercial timber, nurseries, and orchards. Its skull is heavily constructed; the small, rounded head has a blunt muzz… Using an electric fence to protect trees … Porcupines in Utah will damage fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and some agronomic crops like alfalfa, and grain if they are present. Fences work best if an electric hot wire can be added 1.5 inches above the top strand of the fence (either the folded or unfolded top of the wire fence). Multiple trees or an entire area can be enclosed in a single fence. Whatever the cause might be, sometimes our trees can incur trunk damage. The Washington Forestry Protection Association estimates that a single foraging black bear can peel bark from as many as 70 young trees a day. Removing any attractants in your yard will help prevent nuisance porcupine occurrenceÂ. Live traps can be purchased at local hardware or farm stores. Porcupines eat herbaceous plants, inner tree bark, twigs, and leaves (when present). Porcupines are herbivores, and their love for plants is exceptional. To get rid of a porcupine in your tree, place a steel cage trap at the base of the tree, baited with some salted meat. Porcupines: Scourge of the springtime willow tree Through most of the 20th century, the state paid hunters a bounty for each porcupine killed. his fact sheet describes the basic ecology and behavior of the porcupine and identifies ways to determine if porcupines are damaging trees on your property. They love to chew on plywood and pressed board. On smaller trees you can cover the trunk so they can't chew the bark or climb the tree. Their tails have the highest density of quills on their bodies and they can quickly flick their tails to lodge quills into the skin of whatever is threatening them. Trees will die if the damage is severe enough. Trees with thin, smooth bark tend to be preferred, but any tree could potentially be at risk. Porcupines eat herbaceous plants, inner tree bark, twigs, and leaves (when present). The porcupine is North America’s second largest rodent; only the beaver is bigger. In the winter, they primarily eat evergreen needles and the inner bark of trees, often feeding heavily on a single tree causing damage or death to the tree. To a porcupine, your rose garden, berry patch, or vegetable garden, is simply irresistible. Clipped twigs on fresh snow, tracks, and gnawings on trees are useful means of damage identification (Fig. porcupines. Wintertime is usually when the worst tree damage occurs because smaller vegetation is scarce. Porcupines not only damage trees in the forest. Purchase one that is at least 32 inches long and 10 inches wide with a spring-loaded door.Â. On larger trees that may be difficult. Porcupines clip twigs and branches that fall to the ground or onto snow and often provide food for deer and other mammals. Landscape damage caused by these animals can cost thousands of dollars to repair. This fact sheet describes the basic ecology and behavior of the porcupine and identifies ways to determine if porcupines are damaging trees on your property. Using an electric fence to protect trees … Fencing small tree plantings, orchards, and gardens is effective in reducing porcupine … It is important to monitor these materials because they can physically damage the tree or girdle it if left on too long. Often they will feed at or near dusk and early in the mornings. Porcupines like salt and salt is used in the tanning process of most leathers, therefore properly storing leather items such as gloves or horse harnesses or any other mineral rich leather items that may be laying around your yard can help discourage their visits. Grooved tooth marks approximately 5 mm wide are characteristic of porcupine damage. Our trees do a good job of letting us know the severity of the damage. > Porcupine Tree Damage, University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News, Source:                       Katie Drewitz, Extension Educator-Horticulture, By Katie Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension. They are vegetarians. A list of professionals in Utah can be found by visiting the UDWR website at the following link https://wildlife.utah.gov/discover/utah-wildlife/107-discover/610-wildlife-rehabilitators-and-nuisance-control.html. Depending on the season, porcupines eat a wide range of vegetation including bark, needles, leaves and the reproductive and readily eaten vegetative parts of woody plants, including nuts, seeds, fruits, and buds (these are considered mast). At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, the porcupines eat herbivore pellets and a variety of fruits, vegetables and greens. Exclusion. If this becomes a problem you may want to provide an alternate salt source such as a salt block to keep them from damaging structures. Porcupines are not the only animal that damage trees in the winter months. We recommend folding down the top of the fence outward at a 65° angle to further discourage curious porcupines. Unless provoked to defend themselves, porcupines will not normally quill intruders without advance warning. Extension > ... hi , i have a hungry porcupine that last night chewed off quite a bit of bark off my little leaf linden. A. Porcupines usually give themselves away first by their damage—clipped twigs, gnaw marks on trees or damage to tools and other wood or leather objects is noticed and cursed. Whether is a building, wooden boat, horse saddles, trees, etc. On smaller trees you can cover the trunk so they can't chew the bark or climb the tree. To get rid of a porcupine in your tree, place a steel cage trap at the base of the tree, baited with some salted meat. Their habitats extend from alpine forest ecosystems in Alaska to cottonwood stands throughout the West to Mexico, and across the northern U.S. from California to Maine. At this time we do not have a clear reason for this increase. Trees between 15 and 25 years — especially Douglas-fir, western hemlock and western red cedar … They live an average of 5 to 7 years in the wild and weigh between 12 and 35 lbs. Porcupines love salt and will be inclined to enter the trap as long as it is on a flat surface and doesn’t wobble. Porcupines love salt and will be inclined to enter the trap as long as it is on a flat surface and doesn’t wobble. Porcupines in trees eat … Porcupines prefer the young bark, leaves, and terminal twigs commonly found high up in the crown of a mature tree, but will strip bark anywhere on a tree’s trunk or branches. Adult porcupines are about 30 inches in length, including a 6- to 10-inch tail. Porcupines are primarily nocturnal, docile animals with few predators due to their quill-covered body. If your tree is too far damaged, you will need to consider removing the tree. To a porcupine, your rose garden, berry patch, or vegetable garden, is simply irresistible. County Horticulture Educator in On sunny days the pale wood where the bark has been stripped off really stands out in the woods. Trees are often deformed from partial girdling. Porcupines have four incisors—two above and two below that are bright orange, strong and adapted to gnawing. If bark is stripped all the way in to the cambium then that part of the tree will die, though small wounds may eventually heal by new tissue growing from the edges of the wound. and may chew on it as well. However, as people relocate to areas known as the wildland-urban interface or WUI, they may encounter trees that have been damaged byÂ. The size of the tooth marks left in the wood is the key. Significant gnawing on a larger tree may be repaired over time. Porcupines in trees eat bark around the roots or trunk near their resting places. Sometimes they remove large areas of bark on branches as well as on the main stem. Gloves should be worn when handling the trap to keep human scent to a minimum and to protect your skin when transporting the caught porcupines. Other Forestry Related USU Extension Pubs, https://wildlife.utah.gov/index.php/r657-19.html, https://wildlife.utah.gov/discover/utah-wildlife/107-discover/610-wildlife-rehabilitators-and-nuisance-control.html, https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r10/forest-grasslandhealth/?cid=FSEPRD566459%20&width=full, http://pcwd.info/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/1994Porcupines.pdf, http://www.wyomingextension.org/agpubs/pubs/B1073.pdf, https://www.wildawareutah.org/utah-wildlife-information/porcupines/. In outdoor decks, outbuildings, etc. most animal control officers suggest moving porcupines 10-20 miles away a... 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