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Unusual suspect in live oak deaths along S.C. coast

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An Angel of an Oak

Several South Carolina media outlets reported earlier this week that branches on live oaks throughout Beaufort County and surrounding areas are dying.

The first conclusion someone might reach in trying to resolve this issue is to identify what in the environment may be causing the issue.

Pollutants, invasive plant disease or species?

Nope. None of the usual suspects.

Naturalists in Beaufort believe the problem may be squirrels.

An owner of a tree service in Beaufort told The Beaufort Gazette that squirrels gnaw at branches, making cuts in the bark that kill the outer branches.

So, at this point, what can be done to safely control the primary suspect?

Tips for safely managing squirrel populations:

1) Wind chimes - squirrels startle easily and wind chimes around the yard or near your trees may effectively control the population. I recently employed the service of a wind chime near my shop and since have not seen any of the nuisance critters near the pecan tree several feet away.

2) Create alternative food sources. Try nailing an ear of corn on a fence post or tree away from the area the critters are creating chaos.

3) Trapping - trapping works, but with a nuisance squirrel population, you may be trapping and relocation squirrels FOREVER.


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