Ring barking or girdling can cause dieback or death of a tree. Damage may result from careless use of machinery close to a tree, excessively tight wire or tree ties or mammals gnawing on the bark, often at the base of the main trunk. Occasionally, girdled trunks or limbs can be saved.

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Roe deer damage on spruce

Quick facts

Common name Ring-barking or girdling
Plants affected Trees and shrubs
Main symptoms Loss of bark at the base of trees, occasionally on higher limbs
Main causes/caused by Careless use of machinery close to trees and animals such as grey squirrels, horses, deer, hares, rabbits and voles gnawing on the bark
Timing Mammal damage occurs mostly during severe weather but also on newly planted trees

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