What Causes Holes In Trees: Five Reasons

When trees have damage to their trunks or limbs, homeowners may wonder, “What causes holes in trees?” Holes in previously healthy trees often indicate trouble from an external source, so discovering what’s causing it allows you to treat the problem. Learn what causes holes in trees and how to address the issue with the experts from Columbia’s professional tree services.

1. Insects

Trees attract a host of insects that want to munch on the bark or leaves or burrow deep into the trunk or limbs to lay eggs. While every tree will have some insects living in or on it, a large-scale infestation can result in a badly damaged tree or leave it vulnerable to disease.

Wood-boring insects include beetles, moths, and termites, all of which utilize the tree for eggs and food. Professional arborists know how to recognize different types of insect damage and can make recommendations on treating the infestation and preventing new ones.

2. Birds

Birds like woodpeckers and the yellow-bellied sapsucker dig into tree trunks, searching for insects and tree sap. While birds don’t necessarily cause dangerous damage by themselves, the holes they leave behind make great homes for insects. Larger holes can attract burrowing squirrels, which may continue to dig away at a tree until parts of it die.

If you have a problem with too many birds in your trees, you can keep them away by using reflective tape or aluminum foil. Arborists can help you determine where and how to place bird deterrents.

3. Storm Damage

When asking, “What causes holes in trees,” many homeowners don’t realize that extensive storm damage may leave holes in their trees. When branches or limbs break off during high winds or heavy rains, the exposed interior of the tree invites pests to move in. These holes get worse the longer they’re neglected, so ensure you always check your trees following severe weather so you can attend to them in a timely manner.

4. Natural Aging

As trees age, they develop holes in various parts of their structure. Many homeowners worry when they see a hole growing in the center of a tree trunk. However, hollow trees can continue to stand for centuries.

If you feel concerned about how large a hole grows, have a professional tree service come to inspect the tree. Tree experts can help determine if you need to take corrective steps or remove a tree because of its holes.

5. Human Intervention

Some holes come from various human activities, including:

  • Tapping a tree for sap
  • Drilling into a tree to test its age
  • Using the tree during outdoor projects

People use trees for various purposes, such as hanging a hammock or sign. Healthy trees shouldn’t suffer severe damage from these holes, but ensure that a tree has reached maturity before using it for outdoor projects.

Can You Repair Holes in Trees?

While some holes may naturally heal over time, you can’t put a bandaid over a hole in your tree. However, arborists can treat larger holes with special caulk. An older method included a layer of concrete over a hole, but this treatment may cause further damage to a tree.

Do You Need Professional Tree Service in Columbia, TN?

Whether you’re wondering “What causes holes in trees” or need a professional eye to determine your landscaping, the tree experts at Volunteer Tree Company in Columbia, TN, can help. Our team offers routine services like pruning or tree trimming, emergency tree removal, and more. Call Volunteer Tree Company today at (931) 637-5487.

Is your yard full of leaf piles? Learn why leaves fall off trees.


We serve anyone in need of tree removal, trimming, stump grinding, or land clearing.

Contact Us

1367 Verona Caney Rd
Lewisburg, TN 37091

Phone:(931) 637-5487
Email: volunteertreecompany@gmail.com


Call Now Button