Protecting valuable trees from Beaver chewing
Tree felling by Beavers is part of nature's cycle. Such pruning stimulates the growth of the fast-growing trees they prefer, which come back even bushier. You can easily protect special trees with wire mesh or even with just an abrasive mixture of latex paint and sand.
Wire Mesh Tree Protection
Heavy gage wire-mesh fencing is the best method of protecting individual trees or groups of trees (Note: chicken wire is for chickens - beavers are bigger and stronger!)
In the Tahoe-Truckee area care must be taken to insure that the wire reaches well above (2'-3') the anticipated snow level, as beavers do not hibernate in the winter.
Cylinders can be made from 5' tall galvanized garden fencing (2"x4" mesh) and should be large enough to sit away from the tree trunk, both to keep the beavers from being able to reach thru the fencing to the tree and to allow for tree growth. Metal fence posts can be used to provide extra suppport for winter snow and ice. Cut the bottom of the fencing to fit sloping ground, or to protect prominent roots from chewing.
Abrasive Paint Tree Protection
Even easier than fencing, and very effective while also being almost invisible, is using an abrasive mixture of latex paint and sand to protect trees. This works only on larger trees, about 3"-4" diameter or larger trunks - it is better to prtoect saplings or smaller bushes with fencing. Trees should be checked anually to insure that the weather has not worn away the texture. And again, beavers do not hibernate, so trees should be painted at least 2'-3' above anticipated snow levels.
Tree on left (with ribbon) protected Tree on right (with ribbon) protected
Color varies from tree to tree, so have several colors and tints ready-to-go.... it's a fun project for volunteers, as it's easy, quick and fun!
Abrasive Paint 'Recipe'
- Exterior flat latex paint
(choose or mix a color to match tree bark)
- Mason or playground sand (fine sand)
- mix 1/2 cup+ of sand per quart of paint or
2 cups of sand per gallon of paint
- Mix only in small batches on day to be used.
- MIX/STIR often (sand will sink to bottom)
- Too much sand will cause mix to roll off tree.
- Pat or toss some extra sand on wet paint.
- Color knots and scars with dark spray paint.