What Is Causing Tiny Holes in My Trees?

December 5, 2018 9:36 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The bark on trees exists to protect against extreme temperatures and potential threats like birds or insects. So, if you start to see tiny holes in your tree or its bark, this could be bad news for the long-term health of the tree.

But what exactly causes these tiny holes in the first place? Here’s some information about these holes and dealing with them through tree maintenance in Newton, MA.

Insects, birds and more

Borers and other types of pests are capable of tunneling into trees, breaking through the bark and getting into the wood underneath. Birds also occasionally create these holes by picking around and looking for food.

Here are some factors that can help you determine what’s causing the holes and how you can deal with them:

  • The culprit: Perhaps the biggest indicator of what is causing the holes is the size and type of hole. Bark beetles and borers often leave behind marks that can be about as thick as a piece of uncooked spaghetti. They’re going to look for trees that are dried out and environmentally stressed. Moths create dime-sized craters in weakened trees, and have some species preferences. Birds (usually woodpeckers or sapsuckers) create some precise areas while searching for sap, usually on maple and apple trees.
  • What you can expect to happen: What happens after the hole is created depends on the culprit that caused the hole in the first place:
    • Beetles and borers will get down into the tree to lay their eggs. Young borers will be able to chew through the wood, disrupting its ability to transport food and water and potentially killing the tree. As the beetles reach adulthood, they exit the tree, leaving more tiny holes behind in their wake.
    • Moth holes aren’t caused by adult moths, but rather by the larvae that emerge from the eggs deposited in the bark by adults. This could damage the tissues the tree needs to transport food and water to its extremities.
    • Birds like to feed on the sap inside the tree and the insects that are drawn to it as well, such as ants and beetles. Expect sapsuckers to make neat horizontal rows in the tree bark—these are distinctive signs of sapsucker presence and are rather difficult to miss. If the indentations are more sporadic, this could be a sign of insect presence, especially on ash trees as the emerald ash borer becomes more common.
  • What you can do: With insects, you can proactively treat your trees to deal with beetles and borers, but if the symptoms are more advanced, you will likely need to remove the tree. Moths will not do significant damage to the tree, but some people choose to treat them anyway. Birds will only do significant long-term damage to a tree if they continually target an individual tree.

For more information about the holes forming in your trees and how to address them, contact the team at BBD Tree Service to schedule an appointment for tree maintenance in Newton, MA.

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