From: Katie Murray Date: 4:03pm, Jul 03
When I arrived home yesterday I noticed that the evergreen tree in the front corner of my house had many branches that had been visibly cut on the back corner of it. There were a couple of stray branches on the ground with clean cuts. When I looked up, I noticed that the cut branches had been bunched up and tucked along the side of my chimney near the vines, at least 6.5 feet up. I can not imagine why someone would have done that? The only thing I can think of is that someone may have been peering into the windows that frame the chimney–which do not have shades–and hiding behind the brush.
I have not seen anyone suspicious in the area. I am new to the neigborhood (since Dec. of last year) and don’t know if these kinds of things occur? As a young woman, I am a little concerned that there may be someone leering in the area.
Does anyone have any ideas why someone would do this? Does this sound like a prank? I have since cut the vines down, but I also fear that my evergreen tree will not recover.
From: John Barron Date: 4:09pm, Jul 03
This probably isn’t the same kind of incident, but in the mid-winter until early spring, our Arbor Vitae (sp?) evergreen in our front yard had2′ x 2′ areas of branches “cut” away and were either scattered on the ground, or piled into “nests”. I heard that it was either squirrels harvesting nesting materials, or squirrels cutting down those branches so they could eat the mini pine-cones on them…
Parts of that plant look decimated, but I think it will recover.
From: Katie Murray Date: 4:12pm, Jul 03
I wonder how squirrels would get the branches up and tucked into the step-like pattern of my chimney? The cuts looked pretty clean. Really odd behavior. I can’t imagine why someone would do such a thing! I’m sad for my little tree. Thanks for the input, John!
From: Jim Crants Date: 4:07pm, Jul 08
It sounds like squirrels to me. Squirrels usually breed in winter to early spring, but some healthy individuals breed again in June. Spruce doesn’t seem like the best option for a nest, but I’m not a squirrel. The clean cuts are also consistent with squirrels, who can clip a twig cleanly enough that you can’t tell they didn’t use pruners.
At any rate, this behavior would be less bizarre for a squirrel than it would for a human (Why bother to clip the branches at all? Why pile them up off the ground? Why draw attention to your having been there?). Remember the old aphorism: “Squirrels are awful, awful people.”