Our crew has witness squirrels cutting the tops off recently planted bayberries on a number of occasions. The animals don't seem to do anything with the bark or cut tops. Why are they doing this and what could be done to prevent it (short of culling the scurry)?
In wintertime in Ontario squirrels will nip the ends of maple twigs; goal is to drink the sap which is sugary at that time of year. If the nipping makes the shoots bleed sweetly then this might be one reason. You would see the nipped ends but if all the squirrels do is drink then this will not be so evident.
If this is the reason, then maybe offer them an alternative equally attractive drink that is easier to get at and they will quit nipping ends, which is more work.