February 20, 2010
Woodpecker vs. Gold Medallion Tree
A caller informed me that a woodpecker was pecking into one of his Gold Medallion trees (Cassia leptophylla) and causing the tree to start dying off. How, he asked me, can the bird be discouraged, and what about the tree? The bird might be looking for borers in the wood, so check the tree for borers, you may have to treat the tree after the bird has been chased away. The woodpecker may also might be storing food in the holes until later, or feeding on sap from the tree. In any case the damage to the tree can be fairly substantial, so it is not a bad idea to discourage the bird from hanging around. One way of doing this is to tie strips of foil on to the tree so that its glittering and flashing appearence in the sun scares them away. If that doesn't work they can try scarecrow owls (which the woodpeckers get used to fairly rapidly if the owls aren't moved) or wrapping bird netting around the suffering branches. If the woodpecker damage to the branch is extensive, you may have to cut that branch off where it initiates from the trunk, leaving a 1-2 inchecollar so that the tree can properly heal.