Protecting individual trees from beaver chewing is a cheap, long-lasting, nonlethal, and effective coexistence strategy when done correctly.
Avoid these common mistakes so you don’t duplicate effort or waste money on the wrong materials:
Inappropriate fencing material– Beavers can chew through chicken wire (pictured below) and other flimsy metal or plastic mesh. We recommend heavy gauge welded wire (14 or thicker) with 2inx4in spacing.
Not high enough– The picture below exemplifies ALL the what-not-to-do’s including that the material is only two feet tall in an area that can get three feet of snow (allowing beavers the ability to chew above the fencing)! We recommend wrapping with fencing that is 4 feet tall.
Too tight– When fencing is secured too close to the trunk, beavers can easily use their weight to press the material against the bark and chew the spaces in between the wire (see photo below on the left). Fencing that is too tight also risks the eventual girdling of the tree as it grows in diameter (see photo below on the right). We recommend leaving a gap of 6-12 inches between the tree trunk and fencing material.
Too late– When a beaver has already chewed around the entire circumference of a tree (see photo below), it will eventually die and is no longer worth wrapping. It is important to wrap high-priority trees before or immediately after the first signs of chewing are observed.
Not well-secured– Beavers can get under cages and through seams that are not properly secured (see the video below from Mike Digout). We recommend using landscape pins/staples to stake fencing material to the ground.
Tree-wrapping materials list
- heavy gauge welded wire fencing, 4ft tall, 2x4in spacing
- wire cutters
- work gloves
- landscape stakes/staples/pins
- measuring tape
- zip ties