Love or hate em, squirrels are a common sight in many backyards and gardens. While they can be pesky little critters, some people actually enjoy having them around. If you’re one of those people, you may be wondering what kind of tree squirrels like best. We’ll share some of a squirrels favorite trees and why they like them.
5 Of The Best Trees For Squirrels
Whether you’re a homeowner looking to plant new trees that provide wildlife habitat or want to know which trees to avoid, so you don’t attract squirrels to your yard. Regardless, here are the top trees that range from large to small that are some of the rodents favorites.
#1 Oak Trees
Oak trees are a top pick for squirrels for a few reasons. First, they produce an abundance of acorns which are a key food source for squirrels. Second, the large size of oak trees provides plenty of cover from predators and the elements.
According to Sciencing, there are 90 different types of native oak trees that grow across the United States. The trees are divided into two main categories consisting of white oaks and red oaks.
Red Oaks Vs. White Oak Trees
Red oaks are smaller than white oaks. White oak trees can grow to be as tall as 80 feet tall, while red oaks hardly ever grow above 70 feet tall. The reds have pointy with a more solid frame without the deep cuts as a white oak.
While white oaks has rounded leaves with deep cuts. This video discusses the differences in the two oaks, so you can easily identify them.
Here’s some of the more popular oak trees for homeowners.
- Post Oak
- White Oak
- Bur Oak
- Southern Red Oak Tree
- Cherrybark Oak Tree
- Sawtooth Oak
- Water Oak Tree
- Northern Red Oak
- Japanese Evergreen Oak
These are just a few of the different varieties of oak trees, you can always choose from several of the other varieties. Here’s a huge list of 20 different types.
#2 Beech Trees
Beech are deciduous trees are popular red, gray, and flying squirrels. That said, other wildlife such as; chipmunks, wild turkeys, white tailed deer, and other animals use these trees as a food source. According to uky.edu, the trees are abundant in insects such as; ants, wooly beech aphids, oystershell scales, etc.
These are robust trees that can grow as tall as 50-70 feet, and can live as long as 200-300 years. If you are looking to attract wildlife to your yard, then consider planing one of these. That said, these trees do best in areas that receive adequate moisture.
Beech trees can liven up your backyard, and provide you with excellent shade, and are a great addition to any yard.
Let’s take a look at some of the more popular species of the beech trees that people love.
- Fern-Leaved Beech (Fagus Sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’) – Also known as the Cut-leaf Beech is a majestic tree that will look great in large yards. It is impressive tree that grows 60-80 feet tall. The long narrow leaves give it a fern-like texture, that’s why it has the name it does.
- Copper Beech (Fagus Sylvatica ‘Purpurea or Fagus sylvatica f. pururea) – also known as the purple beech tree, makes a great landscape tree that can grow anywhere between 50-60 years old.
- European Beech (Fagus Sylvatica) – A deciduous tree that thrives in USDA zones 4-9, and does best with full shade or partial sun. It is one of the smaller trees and can grow anywhere from 40-60 feet when grown in the right conditions.
- American Beech Tree (Fagus Grandifolia) – It makes a great shade tree that grows between 60-80 feet tall. The fall colors are magnificent and will range from bronze, copper, to golden yellow.
- Weeping Beech (Fagus Sylvatica ‘Pendula’) -This is an ornamental tree with droopy limbs, that nearly touch the ground. It’s great for areas that don’t receive harsh winds.
While beech trees are great for attracting wildlife, they do have a few downfalls as well. For example, the leaves of these trees are very thin which makes them susceptible to wind damage. Also, they don’t tolerate drought conditions or compacted soils well, so they may be harder to grow, depending on where you live.
#3 Maple Trees
Maples are another top pick for squirrels, and these are also one of the most popular landscape trees in North America. The rodents are known to strip the bark for lining their nests and food, when their supply is scarce.
These trees are known for their beautiful fall colors. here are over 120 different species of maples throughout the wold, and only 13 are native to the United States.
Some of the most common ones that can be found in backyards throughout the United States are:
- Paperbark Maple (Acer Griseum)
- Silver Maple (Acer Saccharinum)
- Bigleaf Maple (Acer Macrophyllum)
- Redleaf Maple (Acer Rubrum)
- Boxelder Maple (Acer Negundo)
Like most other landscape trees, maple trees attract other wildlife such as; moles, red squirrels, grey squirrels, voles, and birds. The trees are also a great source of food for deer, that said, deer seem to prefer eating young maple trees rather than the older ones.
Maples can live a long time, some species have been known to live over 300 years. While the sugar maple can live up to 400 years. if planted in the right circumstances.
These are medium to slow growing trees that can range in height, depending on the species. That said, most of them will grow to be between 60-90 feet tall. The Japanese maple is considered a shrub and at full maturity it will stand between 20-33 feet tall.
One of the downfalls of having a maple tree in your backyard is that they have a very shallow root system. Meaning, they can prevent grass or other plants from growing near the tree, as well as cause cracks in sidewalks or driveways.
#4 Pine Trees
Pine trees are coniferous plants that consist of needles rather than leaves. There are around 125 different species of pine trees throughout the world. These trees belong to the Pinacea and Genus Pinus family, and are related to other types of conifers such as; spruces, cedars, and fir trees.
The trees produce woody cones with seeds that both grey and red squirrels love to eat. That said, other animals such as; deer, woodpeckers, nuthatches, black beers etc eat the cones as well.
Squirrels are known to collect nuts like chestnuts, pine, and acorns and store them in their dens or nests for the winter months. The animals will also strip the bark and eat the sap from pine trees, which can damage or kill the tree.
Pine trees are popular among homeowners, because unlike deciduous trees, these keep their foliage year round.
- Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris)
- Silveray Korean Pine (Pinus Koraiensis)
- ‘Joppi’ Jeffrey Pine (Pinus Jeffreyi ‘Joppi’)
- Japanese White Pines (Pinus Parviflora Fukuzumi)
When considering which variety to plant, take into the account the available space in your yard as well as the USDA plant hardiness zone you live in. Pines require lots of sunlight to grow. Some species such as the white pine can do well in partial sun.
Why Squirrels Love Trees?
Tree Squirrels which consist the Gray, Red, Fox, and Flying Squirrels love trees for many reasons. The first being obvious, trees make a great habitat, whether it be in a nest or den. Squirrels will build their nests in the forks of branches high up in the trees. This provides them with a safe place to sleep and raise their young.
Another reason squirrels love trees is because they provide them with food. Trees produce nuts, seeds, fruits, and buds which are all a part of a squirrels diet. Not to mention the insects that live on and in trees which are also a tasty treat for these furry critters.
Lastly, trees give squirrels a place to play and exercise. Chances are you’ve seen them chasing each other up and down tree trunks or leaping from branch to branch. This is not only good exercise for them but it’s also great fun!
Squirrels love trees for many reasons, but the main ones are because they provide them with food, shelter, and a place to play. Most can be seen on any tree, they tend to gravitate towards those that produce nuts, seeds, and fruits.
- How to Prevent Squirrel Damage to Trees?
- Why Do Squirrels Eat Bark?
- Can A Squirrel Get Stuck In A Tree?
- Why Do Squirrels Strip Bark Branches off Trees?
- Do Squirrels Eat Jasmine Plants?
- How Many Trees Are Planted By Squirrels?
- Is The Southern Flying Squirrel Endangered?
- Are Flying Squirrels Rodents, Mammals or Marsupials?
- How Do You Know If You Have A Squirrel Problem?
- Are Squirrels Nests Bad For Trees?