We have begun having a problem with a squirrel climbing the fence and jumping into our Magnolia tree and destroying the branches. All day, every day, there are large amounts of pieces of branches and leaves from the tree on the ground. We have no idea how to stop this problem. Should we cut the branches back that are close to the fence? What should we do to save the tree?- Doris D.
It is not uncommon for squirrels to cut small branches from magnolia trees and drop them. They are collecting materials to build nests. Often, once they cut a small branch they either decide it is not suitable or accidently drop it. So, when squirrels are collecting foliage from magnolias a lot ends up on the ground under the tree.
There is really no need for you to take any action. The tree will not be greatly harmed by the light pruning and will recover well. If you would like, you could put out live animal traps around the tree in an effort to capture the squirrels and release them in a park. But, this generally is not necessary.
Consumer Horticulture Specialist
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture