Woodpecker damage on Service Berry Tree

Asked April 1, 2017, 10:01 AM EDT

The photo of our Service Berry tree shows apparent woodpecker damage, on a main branch (about 1.5-2 inches in diameter) near the top third of the tree. The tree is at most 5 years old and has been doing well. How do we mitigate this damage and preserve the health of the tree? Do you recommend wrapping of any kind? Thanks!

Anoka County Minnesota

1 Response

As a rule, woodpeckers peck for three reasons: to make noise to establish territory, to find food, and to excavate nest cavities.

If woodpeckers are responsible for the damage shown in the photo, we believe they were looking for food. This suggests that larvae of boring insects are present. If so, dealing with the borers is as important as deterring the birds.

Go here to learn more about borers:
http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec1580.pdf

Try using these methods suggested by University of Missouri authorities to discourage the woodpeckers: "Wrap the damaged part of the tree with burlap or hardware cloth, or smear a sticky repellent such as Tanglefoot Bird Repellant on the trunk. Reflective Mylar strips attached vertically to the trunk can also be a useful repellent."

Learn more here:
http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G9449