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something eating away on my cherry tree bark - help!

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  • something eating away on my cherry tree bark - help!

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    Been away, back, away and practically living at work when not away - so this caught me by surprise, but apparently it's been happening for a while.

    is it like a termite thing? There's sawdust around the base. Fixable?

  • #2
    looks like the underlying wood has died and started to rot - the damage is probably woodpecker, obviously they only attack dead wood as they are looking for invertebrates to eat under the bark.

    Whether its fixable or not really depends on where it is in the tree, and what the rest of the bark/trunk is like - the stuff in the photo is a lost cause.

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    • #3
      woodpeckers? didn't even know they were in these parts.

      i thought it was bugs worming through. I got told by a neighbour to try a chemical thing called phenyl... something. phery - . Ugh. Can't remember. Wrote it down somewhere. And also grease traps.

      I was also thinking of using some sort of sealant. I don't know. It flowered beautifully as usual this summer, so it doesn't feel like a lost cause. but it's heading that way judging from all the grim looks of whoever sees the tree.

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      • #4
        no point treating the wood with chemicals as its dead, so lost to the tree already.

        Might not be woodpeckers, but that really doesn't make much difference either.

        A sealant of some kind is certainly possible - the idea would be to encourage new bark to grow over damage - a bit like putting a bandage on a wound

        The other issue is the structural strength of what's left of the tree - if for example the damage which can be seen in the photo goes a long way in, then a strong wind might be enough to snap the rest of it off - hard to say what the best way to proceed is .

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        • #5
          It's a bit difficult to judge the size of the tree.
          But.
          My instinct would be to phone a tree surgeon, explain the concern and ask them to come and look at it for advice (check out their fees first though!)
          They may be able to diagnose/suggest the correct treatment if any.
          If it's a big tree and dying then you'd need to employ a professional to remove it anyway?
          It may be salvageable if diagnosed in time.
          "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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          • #6
            Most of it seems like quite old damage. The only fresh bit seems to the that smaller gouge to the right of the main fissure.
            The main fissure definitely seems pretty old, though. The bark at the edges has healed over long ago, and the bare wood is dry and cracked (clearly dead, but heartwood is always dead in a tree of that size, so that in itself is nothing to worry about.

            At this stage, I wouldn't worry about it, to be honest. It still has enough structural strength to hold up the tree, and a fissure that size won't cause much harm.
            It may cause some problems long term, as the exposed heartwood may eventually rot out. Even this isn't fatal in and of itself, but it will significantly reduced the structural strength of the tree, and it may fall over. Reducing the canopy would help with that, though. I once saw a pollarded lime tree which was not only completely hollow, but even lacking a third of its trunk. It was just three-quarters of a hollow trunk, about 2 feet across, happily growing,

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            • #7
              That part of the tree is dead (outer bark and inner wood). There's nothing you nor anyone else can do so I suggest finding something else to worry about.
              Damage like that is not unusual on older trees but it could still live for many years.
              .

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