Question: I have just found holes
on the trunk of our live oak tree. The tree is about 8 ft
tall and is only about 5 years old. We lost a very large
weeping willow last year to borer beetles and we are concerned
that this live oak has them also. The holes do look different
to the tree we lost. All the holes are in a line. The tree
still looks healthy but I do not want to wait until it starts
to die to treat it.
Answer: Most likely the holes were made
by a bird called Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. It makes these
holes to promote a source of sap and dines on this sap and
on the insects attracted to the sap. Excessive hole drilling
can infrequently cause limbs to die. However, most often
no harm is done.