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I have a Rainbow swingset made of a Chinese wood called Cunninghamia. The squirrels and deer in my backyard have begun to chew the wood relentlessly. Is there anything I can do to prevent them from doing this?

I've been told that ROPEL (animal repellent spray) might work, but I'm afraid it might damage the wood.

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Shotgun –  Tester101 Sep 10 '12 at 17:23
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2 Answers

Is that happening during pre dormancy season or mating season? In the latter case it could be a matter of marking to attract attention and mark territory.

why not just fence around the swing set--doesn't need to be implanted, just anchored. Perhaps only needed until the wood has weathered and so less attractive as a possible food or marker to woodland animals. You could build your own out of ready-made of fabricated panels; or buy or rent an enclosure.

Or it could be a more decorativem permanent safety addition to the swing set.

A repellent, and predator figure, could be added to an enclosure without concern for Cunninghamia damage.

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Something about the wood is attracting the animals, you are going to have to find a way to make it less appealing either by taste or smell, the only other way to deal with it is to protect the wood with some sort of armor. By far the most cost-effective and quickest way to do this is to sprat the wood with something like ROPEL, rub the wood down with a bar of hand soap, or coat it with chili spray.

If you're worried about the sprays harming the wood then you'll need to seal the wood with an outdoor varnish. Really you should do this anyway as without it the wood will weather and rot much more quickly. It's possible that varnishing it will make it less attractive to the animals in the first place as it will certainly not taste good.

You're going to have to accept that you need to do something to the wood that might change the character of it to keep it from getting nibbled to bits. The sooner you do it the more of it will be left.

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