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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - August 09, 2013

From: AUSTIN, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: What clips green twigs from cedar elms?
Answered by: Guy thompson

QUESTION:

Many small cuttings (3-5 inches long) are dropping from large cedar elm. To my eye the ends look like breaks (not chiseled), but I can't imagine what would cause so many breaks, and so think something must be cutting. Ants? Grasshoppers (haven't seen any)? Squirrels?

ANSWER:

I noticed the very same thing on my cedar elm here in Austin some years ago.  After doing a bit of sleuthing I discovered that it was done by squirrels and only at a certain time of year. There must be something very tasty in the growing twigs just then.  The fairly extensive de-twilgging has continued every year since then, but the elm shows no ill effects.  I've come to consider it simply another pruning job to complement the pruning that I do regularly in other parts of my garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

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