A bird, not kids, hurt tree


January 27, 2007|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,Special to The Sun

The trunk of my holly tree has holes drilled all the way around it. I suspect the neighborhood kids. The holes aren't deep. Will they kill my tree?

Your holly was attacked by a sapsucker woodpecker. It drills holes to feed on tree sap and the insects that get trapped in it. Its feeding activity usually doesn't kill a tree, unless the holes are so close that they girdle the cambium layer (the tree's vascular system). To discourage further drilling, wrap hardware cloth around the trunk where the damage is occurring.


Sand the rust off neglected spades and hoes, sharpen them with a file, and rub linseed oil on handles to prevent cracks and splinters.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507.

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