holes in walnut tree

Asked March 29, 2015, 11:18 AM EDT

Noticed these last night. What do I need to do?

Daviess County Kentucky

1 Response

This appears to be damage from yellow-bellied sapsucker - a type of woodpecker. The damage you illustrate is actually quite minor, sometimes holes completely circle tree trunks, sometimes in several concentric rings. The woodpecker is looking for grubs or borers feeding beneath the bark or may also feed on tree sap that will slowly flow from the wounded area. Generally damage to trees is only minor but the woods may allow entry of disease causing organisms. Many people choose to do nothing and if you see no more damage this may mean that the bird had decided to move on to other trees. If damage continues, there are a number of options you might use to repel or exclude the bird from the tree. Your local county extension agent may be able to point you to some remedies. A publication from UK regarding woodpecker damage and its control can be found here: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/for/for38/for38.htm