Treeguards are Boss Monsters that can occasionally transform from Evergreens when a nearby Evergreen is chopped down. They are initially hostile towards the wood-cutter, assuming that is how they were spawned, have very high health and damage, and are capable of killing most unarmored characters in three strikes. They can be pacified by planting new trees nearby.
Treeguards do not spawn before Day 3, after which felling any Evergreen has a 1.33% chance of spawning a Treeguard from a nearby Evergreen (within 15 units of distance, or just under 4 Pitchfork tiles). After Day 30, up to two treeguards may spawn. After Day 80, up to three Treeguards may spawn at once, given enough Evergreens nearby. They can spawn from any size Evergreen tree, but not from burned Evergreens, dead Evergreens, or Evergreen saplings (from recently planted Pine Cones).
When chopping down a Lumpy Evergreen, there is also the chance for a Lumpy Treeguard to spawn, which behaves the same as a normal Treeguard, but looks different.
When one appears, a Treeguard aims to attack whoever chopped down trees near them and follows them limitlessly, only stopping when several new trees are planted nearby. Planting a Pine Cone within 16 units has a 15% chance to calm them, and within 5 units away has a 33% chance. Treeguards growl every time a pine cone is planted, even if they're sleeping.
The moment a Treeguard is pacified, it returns to the ground disguised as an ordinary tree, as if it were asleep. A Treeguard in this state does not wave in the wind, does not have a trunk, and does not appear on the Map. During Winter, sleeping Treeguards also don't have snow, making them easy to distinguish from actual trees.
At night, neutral Treeguards go to sleep, plopping down wherever they happen to be standing. If no one chops a nearby tree or attacks the sleeping Treeguard, it will not wake up until morning comes. At day, neutral Treeguards wander aimlessly until night comes or until they are angered again. Neutral Treeguards can still be put to sleep with pine cones.
A Treeguard being asleep does not stop Mobs from deciding to attack it. Pigs, Abigail, and other friendly mobs must be kept in check, as they will draw aggression from any Treeguard they hit, although the Treeguard will focus its attention on those that attack it.
If an angered Treeguard doesn't growl when the player plants Pine Cones, it's not being done close enough. Planting trees ahead of time does not prevent Treeguards from spawning, nor does it calm them later. Attempting to chop down a tree within 20 units of any neutral Treeguard enrages it again, though planting more trees can calm it again too. It's even possible to calm a Treeguard after directly attacking it.
There are three sizes available for Treeguards — short (70% scale), normal (100% scale), and tall (125% scale) — that spawn from Evergreens of respective sizes. A Treeguard's health, damage, combat range, and walking speed all scale with its size. Short and regular Treeguards have been reported to grow in size.
Treeguards do not come from dead Evergreens, Spiky Trees, or burnt trees.
If killed by fire, the Treeguard will not drop its usual loot, but will leave some ash and cooked Monster Meat.
Each tree felled has a 1.33% chance of summoning a Treeguard. Having trouble with this is quite normal. A way to speed up this process is to get help chopping trees by befriending Pigs. They chop trees if they see the player do it, and they continue to chop them down until the player runs away. If the Pigs spawn Treeguards, the Treeguards will attack the Pigs instead of the player.
A good way to find Treeguards with Woodie as he has a higher chance to spawn Treeguards.
Another way to summon a Treeguard faster is to burn many trees in a cluster and keep a small, newly planted tree next to the cluster. Each burnt tree will count as a regular tree when chopped and will take considerably less time to chop than healthy trees. Chop the burnt trees while newly planted tree is tier 1 to make the ensuing battle easier, and plant two or three more trees near the cluster if one wants to spawn multiple Treeguards.
Treeguards have a great deal of health but are slow. An effective way to wear the monster down is dodging its attack and then running in to strike 3–4 times before dodging again, although this will drain Sanity considerably. This method works especially well with Woodie's Beaver form.
Leading a Treeguard to other hostile creatures or vice versa is another effective way to kill it. Pigs will attack them on sight, and multiple Pigs can easily disorient a Treeguard by the hit and run tactic. A good-sized herd of Beefalo in heat can make short work of a Treeguard, and due to its ability to be pacified, the Treeguard can be placed close to a herd and effectively farmed every mating season (also yielding Meat and Beefalo Horn drops). They can also be tricked into fighting a Deerclops, Hounds, and Tentacles. This tactic does not work with the Dragonfly, and can result in both chasing the character.
Another possible way to kill a Treeguard is to pacify it by planting pine cones, then to light surrounding things on fire. It will catch fire but won't wake up, though this method causes the Living Logs it drops to burn up.
If a Treeguard walks through or near fire (such as flaming Trees or a Campfire), it can catch fire and take damage over time. It must walk through several times for it to be killed this way, and unfortunately a Treeguard's loot is burned up if it dies by fire. Still, they are fairly dangerous in the early days of a game, so this option is viable when the player doesn't need Living Logs. Multiple burning Treeguards can perpetually ignite each other until they die, so combat by fire is easier to get rid of several of them than it is a single monster. To prevent them from setting other trees and Structures on fire, it's advised to lead them to an area with no or few flammable objects, such as a Rockyland Biome.
Below is the number of hits it takes with each weapon to kill various sized Treeguards when playing with characters who have the default damage modifier. The Weather Pain is not included due to the random nature of its projectile. Also note that Treeguards in Don't Starve: Together have 50% more health.
Tooth Traps are useful against Treeguards as they will not only damage them but often get the monster stuck in place for a moment.
- Non-aggressive Treeguards can be kept around to fight other mobs, such as Pigs, Tentacles, even other boss monsters. They can soften or kill the enemies, thanks to their high health and damage.
- If the player dies and respawns, the Treeguard will be pacified.
- Spiders will not attack a Treeguard if it steps on the web outside their nest or for any other reason. Likewise, a Treeguard will not attack a Spider for any reason, even Spider Queens. However, the Treeguard will attack back if the Spider attacked first because the player used a Spiderhat to command it.
- Mobs and bosses that knock down trees (a Clockwork Rook or Bearger, for example) can cause a Treeguard to spawn. Treeguards that spawn this way will attack the mob that knocked down the tree that caused them to spawn.
- A simple way to find a sleeping pacified Treeguard is by hovering an Axe over trees. The prompt for a regular tree is "chop", whereas the prompt for a Treeguard is "attack".
- Another option would be to check to see if the tree has an insanity aura.
- Treeguards are notably more flammable then other Mobs meaning it is possible to lure them into fires to damage them from safe distance. It should noted that this method is time consuming so the Player will likely have to retreat near Night by pacifying the Treeguard or Knocking them out. Fire will burn the dropped living logs as well so it's best to finish it off near its death.
- Tall Treeguards (like the Ancient Guardian) have the highest amount of health of all the vanilla mobs, and they deal the most damage to other mobs (not to the player).
- In the game files, the Treeguard is named "Leif", which is a male given name of Scandinavian origin. Here, it could be derived from the Old Norse name Leifr (nominative case), meaning "heir" or "descendant," but it's more likely a pun on the word "leaf."
- Sometimes after being chased for a while, the Treeguard will walk around randomly, not attacking the player. If this happens, one may use this time to get ready to fight it again, because it will begin attacking the next morning (even if it went passive right after morning).
- Treeguards may have been inspired by the Ents in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings or similar creatures (such as Treants) from other fantasy books, movies, games, and lore.
- In older versions of the game, the sound played when a player swung a weapon was the same sound a Treeguard makes while swiping.
- The Treeguard is the only neutral Boss Monster in the base game and Reign of Giants DLC. Shipwrecked DLC added Tiger Shark, which is also neutral towards the player.
- Mobs that can destroy trees, such as Clockwork Rooks, also spawn Treeguards if they take down enough trees. This could lead to Treeguards being interesting allies in boss fights.
- If the player spawns a Treeguard while underground, exiting to the surface and returning does not stop it from chasing them.
- A tall Evergreen Treeguard was featured as the antagonist to Woodie in the Don't Starve Together animated short Tree's a Crowd.
- If the player attempts to use a Straw Roll to sleep while in combat with a nearby Treeguard, the game will not pick it up as being "too dangerous", and the character will awake the next day with the Treeguard still attacking.
- It seems with the Strange New Powers update, when a big Treeguard is summoned and the player leaves the game after a short while, there is a chance it will become (and stay) a medium-sized Treeguard. It is unknown if health and attack power values are left the same as a big Treeguard.
- Fighting other mobs in the presence of a neutral Treeguard, whether walking around or sleeping, will cause that season's boss monster music (for example, "E.F.S." for Summer in the vanilla game or Autumn in RoG) to play without the Treeguard becoming aggressive towards the player. This also happens when fighting near a Spider Queen or other Boss Monsters (e.g. attacking Moslings near their mother Moose/Goose), whether the ordinary mobs are related to the boss or not.
- If the player eats a cooked mandrake while being attacked by a Treeguard, it will cause the player to wake up the next morning with the Treeguard pacified.
- A Treeguard may spawn from planted saplings. It is unknown if this is actually a bug or intended.
- On rare occasions when chopping down a tree, a Treeguard will spawn from said tree, which will result in a crash.