Thursday, January 26, 2017

Spruce Bits Falling From Above

In my travels today, I stumbled upon a strange sight. From afar, it looked like a beautiful dense green ground cover, until I heard debris falling from above.

Had a closer look and these bits were all over the ground.

Perfect cuttings of terminal and side spruce tree shoots, littering the ground.

Notice anything missing?

There are no buds on any of these shoots. Why?

No, it's not the tree aborting last year's worth of shoots, it's our lovely squirrel population munching at the base of each segment, where the dwarf shoot meets the stem. Plump buds and immature cones are usually nestled at these joints. Making them a great food source for squirrels. As I took these photos, I could hear more falling down below. Must of been 3 squirrels feeding in this area.

Looking up, you'll notice it happens only to Norway Spruce - or at least that is in my experience. I think it's because they have larger cones (makes for larger buds) and their branching habit is more airy and open (easy access).

If you're wondering: if this damage will kill the tree. No, but it certainly sets it back and "prunes" the tree - somewhat stunting them. Removing next year's buds makes the tree respond later in developing dwarf shoots. Open wounds are now also susceptible to bacterial/virus threats too.


If this happens on your property, perhaps invest in some ultrasonic squirrel deterrent device, to help them not congregate on your Norway Spruce.

It is a shame.  Like a carpet of's so sad.


  1. Oh so sad. The rodents seem to have given up hibernation for the buffet that our mild winters are giving us. We now have red squirrels nesting! It's January!!!


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