Tree Riddled with Holes

Asked May 15, 2013, 1:47 PM EDT

This tree is on the city side of the street and though it generally looks healthy, I've wondered how long that will continue since it is absolutely riddled with holes and there is one large branch that is covered in a white fungus/mold. I've asked the city to trim it but they have so far not responded. It is near cars and could reach our houses if it were to fall. I love this tree -- great shade, beautiful white blossoms in the spring -- just finished. But am concerned about its health. Trucks of any size are continually assault by it's branches -- it's really the only way the tree gets "trimmed" -- by being pulled at by passing trucks. Thanks for any advice/info/assessment you might be able to offer.

Baltimore Maryland trees and shrubs tree health tree animal damage tree sapsucker damage

1 Response

The tree in question has severe sapsucker damage. These birds, related to woodpeckers, will peck a series of holes, usually in a pattern, in order to cause the tree to bleed sap. The bleeding sap will attract insects and the sapsuckers will return to feed on the insects. They also derive sugar from the sap as they peck the holes. Trees usually survive the damage inflicted by the birds. This tree has been visited by sapsuckers for the past several years and has apparently survived the damage. The one dead branch in your photo may or may not have been caused by the sapsuckers, but it should be removed, not only for the safety of passersby but also for the health of the tree.