Squirrels - in a Sugar Maple

Discussion in 'MichiganSmallGame.com' started by B.Jarvinen, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. B.Jarvinen

    B.Jarvinen Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,838
    Likes Received:
    2,265
    Location:
    Manistee
    How often have you ever seen this?

    A nurseryman in Ottawa County mentioned this to me - they had to start shooting squirrels out of the tree they have that they use for collecting seed to grow.

    For the most part, Sugar Maple has no seed on it this year, though human created micro-sites (heat islands) can always make an exception to crop conditions elsewhere.

    But then a few days later, I too saw Squirrels getting at seeds in the top of a Sugar Maple where I am working way up here in Iron County Wisconsin. Around here, very few trees & shrubs have any seed crop at all. But right adjacent to those squirrels in the Maple, every third or so Oak has a good crop of acorns.

    So it makes sense to me that Squirrels would feed on Sugar Maple as I have long figured Red Maple is a key early summer food source for them.

    But have never seen Squirrels up in a Maple tree before - have you?
     
    eucman likes this.
  2. knu2xs

    knu2xs Canoeist Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,648
    Likes Received:
    3,961
    Location:
    S.Genesee Co.
    The squirrels have been eating our Maple seeds for years.

    This year they made a heck of a mess on our driveway for a couple of weeks with the empty seed “husks.”
     
    jrose and Dish7 like this.

  3. eucman

    eucman

    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    1,098
    Location:
    Wales Twp.
    I
    I have seen it fairly regularly. There are some parking lot hedge maples at work the squirrels and turkeys clean up every year. They also will eat the inner bark of sugar maple doing a lot of damage in the process.
     
  4. ESOX

    ESOX Staff Member Super Mod Mods

    Messages:
    37,379
    Likes Received:
    17,319
    Location:
    The D, MI
    Even weirder are the squirrels that go after our Catalpa seed pods.
     
  5. B.Jarvinen

    B.Jarvinen Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,838
    Likes Received:
    2,265
    Location:
    Manistee
    I think it is Porcupines that chew on Maple bark. ?
     
    eucman likes this.
  6. eucman

    eucman

    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    1,098
    Location:
    Wales Twp.
    This happened outside our office window. I used to see it quite a bit in Houghton but it was gray squirrels doing the damage
     
  7. Wolverick

    Wolverick

    Messages:
    805
    Likes Received:
    192
    Location:
    Wolverine
    Gray squirrels were introduced to Great Britain (I guess for hunting) and have become destructive of their forests, girdling trees to the point of threatening the forests existence. They are considered pests and shot year round.

    As far as them being in maples, I have mixed hardwoods with only a couple acorn producing oak. We still have black squirrels, though not many. They eat a lot of things besides acorns.
     
  8. Multibeard2

    Multibeard2

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Michigan
    Yes they will but squirrels will also do it. I noticed some maples that had the bark striped in the tops of them. I told a friend that lived across the road he needed to go over and kill that destrutive porky. When he got over there he found no sign of a porky in the snow. Just squirrel tracks
     
  9. B.Jarvinen

    B.Jarvinen Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,838
    Likes Received:
    2,265
    Location:
    Manistee
    Thanks everyone!

    I work around Oak a lot, because everyone loves Oak. Sugar Maple can be a valuable timber species (though prices currently in a deep valley) that is commonly managed _for_ rather than against. I figured squirrels would feed on it but would forage along the ground. But am not often in a Sugar Maple stand at seed ripening time.

    Very interesting to know that maybe the Porcupines are taking a little blame for damage to it. The solution to Porcupine problems is - the Pine Marten (one of the last Michigan critters I have never seen) - and maybe to Grey Squirrel problems too?

    Or maybe my little pals the Red/Pine Squirrels do not chew up the Sugar Maple? They are in a Forever War with the Grey/Fox Squirrels, wherever those approach.
     
    knu2xs likes this.
  10. Multibeard2

    Multibeard2

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Michigan
    Another thing I have found out on my property. There were some jack pine on it when I bought it 51 years ago. There have been more growing over the years even thoght there has never been a fire on it. I think that it has been the pesky red squirrels feeding on the cones that have caused this.
     
  11. B.Jarvinen

    B.Jarvinen Premium Member

    Messages:
    1,838
    Likes Received:
    2,265
    Location:
    Manistee
    Jack Pine can reproduce just fine without a fire, or a squirrel. Yes, a fire can clear the organic layer off of mineral soil and open a lot of the cones on a Jack Pine, but that is not 100% essential for cones to open and the seed to disperse.
     
  12. ICEGUY

    ICEGUY Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,734
    Likes Received:
    2,724
    Location:
    South East Michigan
    I do not like my Thornless Honeylocust, way too messy when it seeds!!!! But the Squirrels eat up them seed pods!! upload_2020-10-20_10-33-14.png
     
  13. Waif

    Waif

    Messages:
    17,122
    Likes Received:
    20,597
    Location:
    Montcalm Co.
    There are times in spring the squirrels here will eat maple buds. I' not sure what exact stage of bud growth is most preferred but it seems like an inch- inch and a half or so leaf starts.
    Watched one this year doing so on a couple foot tall sapling. Bending it down with it's body weight.
    More often they are gathering buds in big maples.

    Tracked a racoon in melting snow along a creek one warm spring day.
    It had stopped and chewed a maple sapling.
    Maybe a half inch diameter sapling.
    Why would it do that except for sap? Kinda like breaking a fast after not feeding much prior?
     
  14. 22 Chuck

    22 Chuck

    Messages:
    2,521
    Likes Received:
    311
    Location:
    Montmorency Co, MI
    e have observed squirrel ion maples eating. We always thought they just wanted a salad and Im sure they enjoyed it.
     
  15. Forest Meister

    Forest Meister

    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    7,595
    Location:
    EUP
    If anyone doubts gray/black squirrels don't eat sugar maple bark, drive I-75 north of Gaylord during mid March to mid April when the squirrel population is normal or on the upswing. The freshly debarked branches will show up very well. If you look close you can sometimes see the squirrels up there feeding, especially the black ones. Once the wood weathers a bit the stripped branches cannot be told from ones that still have bark without very close up inspection. FM
     
    Multibeard2 and Waif like this.