Woodpecker damaging white birch trees

Asked June 5, 2019, 2:19 PM EDT

We have 2 white birch trees. They look very healthy. 7 years old. A woodpecker showed up a couple weeks ago and has been drilling into one of the trees like crazy. There is tons of sap and insects/ants on the tree trunk now (about 4 feet of the trunk all around it). He just started drilling into the other white birch yesterday. I can’t get an arborist to come look for 2 weeks. I love these trees. They are so healthy and beautiful looking except now for the trunks that are so damaged. Is there something I can do to help prevent infection and keep the insects and woodpecker away?

Washington County Oregon trees and shrubs woodpeckers

1 Response

Woodpeckers might be sapsuckers, so do a bit of research to to correctly identify the bird. I’ll include links to help identify the damage, and suggested steps to deal with them. Short-term, burlap is generally used, though the bottom line is often “deal with it”, I’m sorry to tell you. White-bark birch trees in our area are being attacked by the bronze birch borer, a beetle killing many trees. Your arborist should be able to tell you if the trees are already damaged, and options to save them. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/nurspest/sapsuckers.html https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/pathogen-articles/nonpathogenic-phenomena/recognizing-sapsucker-damage-your-trees This Oregon Live article is based on OSU Extension information: https://www.oregonlive.com/hg/2018/07/beware_these_voracious_pests_p.html