ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


Will a woodpecker attack a healthy maple?

Discussion in 'Plant Health' started by ontario026, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. ontario026

    ontario026 ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    the back 40 near brockville on
    I've had my eye on a nice sugar maple probably about 28" DBH, tall and straight, probably about 30ft to the lowest limbs or so.... on my sister's property and I finally got an alaskan mill for christmas, but todays I was out looking around and I noticed about 1/2 way up from the ground to the lower limbs there is a woodpecker hole about 6" high, not sure how deep.... Prior to this discovery, from what I could tell this maple looked like a very healthy tree (to me at least, but I'm no pro...)? Will woodpeckers attack a healthy tree or does it need to be soft/damaged/bug infested etc before they move in?? I'm just wondering if it is still worth while cutting down to try my hand at milling?? I was planning on making some nice boards out of the trunk, and some nice firewood out of the crown, but i'm not sure if it is worth it now...
     
  2. clearance

    clearance Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Messages:
    7,383
    Likes Received:
    660
    Location:
    b.c.
    You were going to...log it... oh, my God what a monster, a healthy tree like that. Seriously though, saw it down, I am sure there is some good wood in it, rest for firewood.
     
  3. Kneejerk Bombas

    Kneejerk Bombas Tree Freak

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2001
    Messages:
    25,171
    Likes Received:
    2,179
    Location:
    My mom's basement, in Madison, Wisconsin.
    Wood peckers are only attracted to very rotton trees. They are trying to get an inch or so into the center, where there are millions of borers and ants and other bad insects.
    If you do cut it down, all those bugs will head right to your sisters house!
    Look for a boxelder. They have beautiful red coloring in the wood, and mill very easily.
     
  4. lumberjach

    lumberjach ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    chattanooga
    When it comes to maples it is usually a sapsucker. They are very much like a woodpecker but they feed on sap. They generaly leave a patern in neat parallel lines. They like sweet sap in trees such as maple and pear and other fruit trees.
     
  5. ontario026

    ontario026 ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    the back 40 near brockville on
  6. treeseer

    treeseer Advocatus Pro Arbora

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    6,770
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    se usa
    how do you know it's a woodpecker hole? The ones down here don't make holes that big, not even the pileateds that I see.

    Boxelder IS nice wood for milling. So are many other species that are not as valuable growing as sugar maple. But if your sister has a lot of sugar maples, go ahead and harvest it; one 6" hole does not affect its usefulness much, does it?
     
  7. TimberPig

    TimberPig AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    859
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    BC
    Can you get out an extension ladder and check it for rot? Normally cavity nesting birds like woodpeckers choose trees that have heartrot in them, as this makes excavation easier. If it is indeed that size, it is most likely a pileated woodpecker, which is one of the strongest cavity excavators, and will tend to be able to peck through more sound wood than will weaker excavators. If it is excavating into the tree, I would suspect there is more beneath the bark than what you think. I would seriously suspect that tree is not as sound as it looks from the outside. Upon cutting it down, you will likely find your lumber recovery is going to be much lower than anticipated. However if it is seriously rotting in the heartwood, it may be on its way out anyhow, and you may end up having to take it down even if you don't use it for lumber.
     
  8. moss

    moss AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    952
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
    Timberpig has it right. The only thing I'll add is that you want to distinguish between a nesting or roosting hole and a foraging hole. If it is 6" long like a rounded vertical rectangle then it's a foraging dig indicating ants or other tasty bugs in compromised heartwood. If the hole is like a squared off circle around 3.5" diameter it's a nesting cavity. If it is a nest hole the heartwood may be perfectly good. As Timberpig said, climb up and take a look.
    -moss
     
  9. WadePatton

    WadePatton AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    822
    Likes Received:
    93
    Location:
    Hills of Tennessee
    Climbing stand for hunting?

    Shimmy right up there and EYEball the hole--and what's in it!

    I vote to drop it and get what you can. If it is infested/rotted, it'll only get worse.
     
  10. Gary Peiffer

    Gary Peiffer New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    DeKalb County, GA
    Atlanta Tree Guy

    Woodpeckers primarily poke holes in decaying wood or insect infested wood. Sapsuckers are smaller and they poke holes to suck sap out of trees in the spring. They primarily attack thin barked trees like maples, pecan, crabapples, etc. and if they poke enough holes close together and all the way around a trunk they can weaken or even girdle small trees.
     
  11. timber

    timber Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    richmond va
    i love woodpeckers and ther is on why that a pileated woodpecker would drial a six i

    i love woodpeckers and ther is on why that a pileated woodpecker would drial a six ince hole beacuse the pileated woodpecker holes are biger then 12 ineeces and rentegle but this is proble the woodepeckerRed-headed Woodpecker
    (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Identification Tips:
    Length:7.5 inches
    Sexes similar
    Fairly large, strikingly black and white woodpecker
    Adult:

    Bright red head and neck
    White breast, belly, rump, and vent
    Black back and wings with prominent white secondaries visible in flight and at rest
    Black tail
    Juvenile:

    Mottled brown head and neck
    White breast, belly, and rump variably marked with brown streaking
    Dark brown back and upperwings with paler edgings
    White secondaries broken by brown lateral bars
    Dark brown tail
    Range:
    East of Rockies from s. Canada to Glulf states
    Migration Status:
    Partial migrant in North

    Habitat:
    Groves, farm country, orchards, shade trees in towns, large scattered trees
    Nest type:
    Cavity

    Clutch Size:
    4-7
    Length of Incubation:
    12-13 days

    Days to Fledge:
    27-30
    Number of Broods:
    often 2

    Diet:
    nuts
    seeds
    insects
     
    Nickrosis likes this.
  12. timber

    timber Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    richmond va
    and no a woodpecker wiil only attack a dedetree unls they are a puting a nest in it

    and no a woodpecker wiil only attack a dedetree unls they are a puting a nest in it
     
  13. tawilson

    tawilson Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,182
    Likes Received:
    257
    Location:
    Theresa, NY
    I've got a hairy woodpecker that likes to hammer on metal electrical boxes in my campground. No bugs there, must just like the sound.
     
  14. Tom Dunlap

    Tom Dunlap Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2001
    Messages:
    3,245
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Austin...but I'm 'from' Minnesota
    A friend of mine has some land in central Wisconsin with white pines scattered around. Wood peckers have made holes in several of them. One broke off right at the hole and was laying on the ground. Both of us have done tree work for years and can identify decay and insect damage. We looked very closely at both ends of the break and could not see any decay or insects. After looking at many of the trees it looks like Woody is making holes at the same height and same orientation, within a few compass points, on the trees. It looks a lot like Woody is making holes that will invite decay for future nesting sites.

    Until the area was selectively thinned there wasn't any Woody damage. Maybe there were other nesting sites in the trees that were thinned. Now that the woods is thinner it's more attractive to Woody. It almost seems like Woody is taking advantage of the change and has taken on the role of an invasive species.
     
  15. ontario026

    ontario026 ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    the back 40 near brockville on
    I dropped the Maple today, and it looks like is no good for anything other than heating my house next winter.... The area where the woodpecker was literally split itself when it hit the ground, even some of the limbs from the top broke right off upon impact... There is some decay in the base, I cut most of the top all up and split it all today, I still need to cut up the trunk, I hope I will find at least an 8 or 9 foot section to try my alaskan mill out on, but I'm not sure if there is any worth milling..... I took some pics on my camera phone, I'll have to get around to dumping the pics to the computer then I will post a few...

    Matthew
     

Share This Page