Have you been hearing a drumming sound but can’t seem to find the source? Have you been noticing holes forming in your trees even though they look healthy? Chances are you have a woodpecker in the area that’s making a home close by. While they can be absolutely fascinating to watch, they can be a bit of a nuisance if they’ve chosen your area to hang out in. All a woodpecker requires is food, water, and shelter for a comfy lifestyle. It’s important to identify if it’s actually a woodpecker causing the issues, how to deter them from causing more holes in your trees, and the repairs you can do.

How to tell if it’s a woodpecker?

One of the biggest signs is seeing holes forming all over the bark of the tree. It would be about the size or slightly larger of a beak. Some species of woodpeckers create holes in a straight line where others may do it in clusters. It’s all the same outcome.

Why does a woodpecker go after trees?

There are a couple of reasons why a woodpecker is going after your tree. They may be over after the sap the tree naturally produces, trying to attract a mate, build a nest in the tree, or store food. Another reason might be because they’re going after insects that have taken up residence in your tree. If this is the case, your tree has a bigger problem than a woodpecker. While the woodpecker itself doesn’t cause a larger amount of damage to the tree, the holes it creates can invite in unwanted insects and diseases.

Male great spotted woodpecker

How to prevent damage?

The first way to deter a woodpecker from getting at your trees is to protect the trees. You can use a bird netting, which is commonly used to protect fruit trees. You can also get commercial products that can be installed around the tree that is sticky on one side preventing the birds from landing on it. Another solution is to wrap the tree with a mesh or cloth so the woodpecker can’t get to the tree. Something that might be a little unconventional is to hang mirrors, old CDs, or anything else that’s reflective. The woodpecker won’t be able to tell the difference and think it’s another bird who has already taken up residence.

Can I repair the damage the woodpecker did?

It depends on how much damage the woodpecker did. In most cases when the holes are an inch or smaller, the best thing to do is to leave the damage alone and let the tree heal on its own. If you attempt to plug up any of the holes, you might accidentally trap the disease inside the tree. You can treat the tree with some fungicide, as a precaution, but basically the tree will handle the rest.

If the holes are larger than an inch, treat the area with a fungicide and then cover the holes with galvanized mesh, also known as hardware wire. Covering up the area will still allow it to breathe and get rid of any diseases it might have, but no insect will be able to get into the tree while it’s vulnerable.