Holes in bark and peeling bark

Asked March 27, 2019, 5:07 PM EDT

This is a crabapple tree that has little holes around it that look like they could be from a woodpecker or some insect or animal burrowing. Also the bark looks diseased. Can you tell what is causing the problems and what can be done to solve it. Thanks!!!!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

The horizontal rows of holes are the work of sapsuckers, a type of woodpecker. Typically, these holes are not very harmful, but some trees or shrubs may die if holes are extensive enough to girdle the trunk or stem. Trees can tolerate much more sapsucker pecking than is pictured in your photo. Your tree should be fine. You do not need to take any steps to prevent the sapsucker feeding. Here is our webpage about this, which does include preventive measures if you are so inclined: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/woodpeckers-and-sapsuckers