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Woodpecker in Maple Tree

Q: What do you recommend for repairing a maple tree that has sustained woodpecker damage?

A: I would examine the reason the woodpecker is attacking the maple.

It may only be looking for insects, and its damage may be minimal. If it's found a spot in your tree that it wants to carve out and make a home in, that may be a different story.

If the tree is far enough away from the house or other "targets" (things that could be damaged if the tree would to suffer a failure), I might just let the woodpecker have at it.

If the tree is close to some targets, you may want to discourage the woodpecker from continuing its activity.

This is easier said than done. If the woodpecker is working just one area of the trunk and you can reach it, apply some sticky-foot to the trunk. Woodpeckers don't like to feel "stuck", and this may send him or her on its way.

The problem is, he or she may just pick out some other tree nearby that would be worse than the one it's attacking now, so think this tactic through.

I've seen woodpecker damage on countless trees that really haven't suffered badly. Most survive, bearing small holes around the circumference of the tree that close over as time goes on.

This is not to say they can't damage trees severely, as I've seen this happen, too. But, for the most part, the damage doesn't kill the tree.

As for repair, there isn't much to do. I wouldn't fill the holes in with caulk or other materials.

I would either try to dissuade Woody Woodpecker from attacking the tree, or just let nature takes it course and keep an eye on the tree.

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Tom Mugridge

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