How to Protect Your Edmonton Tree from Rodents, Deer, and Wildlife

Reading time: 6 minutes

Have you ever noticed how Edmonton’s unique chilly climate gives the trees a distinct, rugged beauty? It's true, but not just the cold snaps and brisk breezes our green friends have to brave. Nope, they've also got to deal with the local wildlife lineup.

Today, we’ll walk you through how to maintain your tree’s health in Edmonton and keep trees strong, healthy, and less like a wildlife buffet.

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Understanding the Threats

So, let's get into the nitty-gritty of our backyard wildlife and how they can sometimes play the villain in the story of our trees' lives.


Rodents can be quite the troublemakers when it comes to tree health. They gnaw away at the bark, stripping it clean and sometimes even girdling roots. This can be a real problem because the bark is like a tree's protective coat. Damaging it is akin to leaving the tree out in the cold, quite literally.

In Edmonton, your usual suspects, like mice, voles, and even squirrels, make a buffet out of your trees' vital organs.


These majestic creatures might look like they're straight out of a fairy tale, but they can spell trouble for your trees. When not munching on the foliage, they rub their antlers against the bark, which can severely damage or even kill young trees. Their seasonal behaviours, especially during rutting season, can increase the risk of tree injuries as they use them to show off their strength and shed their antler velvet.

Other Threats

While rodents and deer pose significant risks to tree health in Edmonton, they're not the only wildlife to keep an eye on. Birds and insects, among other pests, can also impact your trees, sometimes in less obvious but equally damaging ways.

Here's a breakdown of some other threats to tree health in Edmonton:


Woodpeckers can drill into trees searching for insects or to create nesting sites, potentially harming the tree's health. Some crows and magpies might not damage trees directly, but their nesting habits can sometimes break smaller branches. Their foraging can spread seeds of invasive plant species as well.


The emerald ash borer is an invasive beetle that has caused widespread tree loss and poses a risk to Edmonton's ash populations. The spruce budworm can defoliate and weaken coniferous trees, making them more susceptible to other stresses. Another common insect is the mountain pine beetle, whose presence in the region is concerning for pine trees, leading to widespread tree mortality.

Other Animals

Like rodents, rabbits can damage tree bark and young shoots, especially in winter when other food sources are scarce. Gophers are also a threat. They can weaken tree structures and disrupt nutrient uptake by disturbing the soil and gnawing on roots.

In Edmonton, the diversity of wildlife requires a comprehensive approach to tree care. Monitoring for signs of these specific threats can help in early identification and management, preserving the health of your trees.

Signs of Wildlife Damage

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Now that you know about the wildlife that's wreaking havoc on your trees, let's talk about how to spot their sneaky work.

Visual Cues and Signs

Rodent damage often looks like small, irregular gnaw marks near the tree's base or even below the soil line on the roots. You might notice the bark stripped away in patches, which can be pretty rough on a tree since that's from where they transport nutrients.

As for our antlered friends, deer damage is a bit more dramatic. Look for large, ragged bites taken out of lower branches or foliage and smooth, polished spots on the bark where they've been rubbing their antlers.

Bird-related damage can manifest as small, round holes across the tree bark, a sign of woodpeckers hunting for insects or carving out nesting sites. Additionally, the presence of nests, indicated by accumulations of twigs and leaves among the branches, though not directly harmful, may hint at potential issues.

Insect threats, such as the tell-tale boreholes from the emerald ash borer or the fine, sawdust-like frass beneath the tree from bark beetles, offer clear evidence of infestation. Girdling at the base from rabbits and soil disturbance near the roots point to gopher activity, which can severely compromise a tree's health.

Long-Term Impact

The long-term impact of this damage? Well, it's not great news. Trees with damaged bark or stripped roots struggle to transport water and nutrients effectively, weakening them over time.

This can stunt their growth, make them more susceptible to diseases and pests, and, in severe cases, lead to their untimely demise.

Tips for Regular Monitoring and Early Detection

  • Regularly walk around and inspect your trees closely. Look for any signs of damage or unusual activity.
  • Some critters are more active during certain seasons. Keep an eye out, especially in spring and fall.
  • Consider consulting with a neighbour or friend. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can spot something you've missed.
  • If you're feeling extra diligent, keep a log of your inspections. It might help you spot patterns or issues over time.
  • Nothing beats professional assessment. If you’re in doubt, it’s always best to call an arborist who can check your tree and provide solid advice and recommendations.
Green Drop Workers Posing

Preventive Measures

Let’s get down to brass tacks to keep our leafy friends safe from the local wildlife.

Physical Barriers

One of the best ways to protect your trees is by putting them behind barriers. Tree guards are like knights in shining armour for your saplings, protecting them from those gnaw-happy rodents.

They’re essentially wraps or meshes that shield the bark and come in all sorts of materials, from plastic to metal. Just make sure they’re snug but not too tight.

Fencing is another great option, especially for keeping deer at bay. A good, sturdy fence can be the difference between a healthy tree and a deer’s snack. Remember, deer can jump pretty high, so aim for at least 8 feet if you’re going the fence route.


There are many repellents and pest control options, from natural concoctions to chemical solutions.

The key is finding something effective but safe for your tree and the environment. Always read the labels and maybe even test them on a small area first.

Tree Care Practices

Good old-fashioned tree care is like the daily vitamins for your trees.

Proper mulching helps retain moisture and regulate soil temperature, strengthening the tree’s roots.

Regular watering (but not too much) and pruning (but not overdoing it) can also keep your trees in tip-top shape, making them less appealing to pests and critters.

Other Preventive Measures

Consider these extra layers of defence to keep the critters at bay:

  • Make your tree's surroundings a bit less welcoming for unwanted guests. Clearing away cozy nesting spots and keeping the ground free of tasty tree snacks can make a big difference.
  • Who knew your tree could have a best friend? Planting deer or rodent-repelling buddies around your trees can create a natural barrier.
  • Motion-activated sprinklers are like the bouncers of your garden. Any uninvited guest gets a surprise splash, sending them scampering off. It's eco-friendly and gives your plants a little drink in the process.
  • Ultrasonic devices are a high-tech solution that keeps pests away with sounds only they can hear.
  • Sometimes, you need to call in the pros. If you're dealing with a particularly stubborn or dangerous critter, wildlife control can offer humane and effective solutions.

Calling in the Experts—Certified Arborists and Professional Tree Care

When wildlife challenges become too daunting, it's time to call in Green Drop's certified arborists. Our expertise in tree care services ensures your Edmonton trees receive the best defence and treatment against wildlife.

Consult with our professionals for persistent issues and secure your trees' health.

Ready for expert care? Book now at Green Drop and protect your trees today.

Schedule Your Free Tree Care Assessment