Holes in Juniper tree

Asked March 7, 2016, 10:41 AM EST

Hello, please find attached photos of our juniper tree, located on our property in downtown Bend. The tree is approximately 80 years old. It has over a couple of hundred of these holes. They are about 1/4 inch diameter and have sap now coming out of them. I am afraid they are beetles and might damage the tree! Any comments or suggestions are much appreciated! Thanks for this awesome service, Maggie

Deschutes County Oregon

1 Response

Hi Maggie,

Western Juniper tend to be pretty resilient to insects and disease, unless they are under stress, which may be the case due to our recent years of drought, and any competition your tree might be up against (other trees, buildings, or a road?). Unfortunately, our native forest and range trees don't fare too well in city life.

There is a bark beetle in the genus Phloeosinus (cedar bark beetle) that has been documented to attack drought stressed, or otherwise stressed junipers.

Unfortunately there is not much you can do other than to try to reduce competition for that tree and make sure you do not damage the root system around the tree. Alternatively, you might take this tree out to keep it from infecting other trees.

A tree with bark beetles might live for many many years, but you will want to keep a close eye on it for any signs of rotting (and potentially falling over). If the tree is not too close to your home, a power line, or the road, you might consider leaving it as a "wildlife" tree, as cavity nesting birds will eat beetle larvae and nest in any cavities.

If you want to learn more about cedar bark beetles, I recommend this fact sheet from OSU Extension:

Sorry I don't have an easy answer for you Maggie. If you have more questions, feel free to give me a call at the OSU Extension office (see below).

Regards, Nicole