Tree damage, what is the cause

   #11  

jimmyj

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Agree with the woody woodpecker theory. The chunks on the ground look exactly like pileated work.
 
  
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Code54

Code54

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Pretty neat - thanks for info -I learned something new!
 
   #13  

dave1949

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Some pics I took today of Pileated woodpecker work. It (or they, there is usually a breeding pair for one large area) started on this tree early last week. Around here, if they work on a tree, you can be sure it has black ants in it, so they are not ruining a good tree normally.

Depending on the size of the ant infestation and the number of holes made, the tree may seal itself with sap and continue living. I doubt this tree will recover.


You can see the ant colony chambers in the heartwood.
DSC03153.jpg

They can make lots of holes as long as there are ants to eat.
DSC03152.jpg

The tree is alive, 40-45 foot tall and relatively healthy looking. The sweep in the trunk means it was stressed in some way or other during its life. That may have provided the opening for the ants. I'm not sure how the ants choose their trees. I've found them in both hard and soft wood species. It is quite a sight to see the ants come boiling out when you cut through a large colony with a chainsaw.
DSC03148.jpg

Wood chips. You can see a few exploratory holes. I don't know if the ants are detected by the resonance of the wood changing due to the ant colony voids, or by taste maybe?
DSC03154.jpg

Chapstick for size scale.
DSC03155.jpg
 
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jimmyj

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It amazes me that the 'peckers can hear the ants to know where to attack. Absolutely fascinating.
 
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TnAndy

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The three vertical trenches in the trunk and chips below look similar to the work of pileated woodpeckers. In wood that soft, that is not a long job for a pileated woodpecker. :D


Yep...that would be my guess. A pileated woodpecker is like a chainsaw with wings......and a REALLY hearty laugh ! :D
 
  
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Code54

Code54

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Wow that is impressive. Never really knew much about woodpeckers so this is really interesting.
THANKS for the info and photos!!!!!
 
   #18  

dave1949

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Wow that is impressive. Never really knew much about woodpeckers so this is really interesting.
THANKS for the info and photos!!!!!

You are welcome. Just a coincidence that they are working that tree over near the end of our driveway where I noticed it.

Pileated woodpeckers are crucial to woodland cavity dwellers and nesters. I believe they are responsible for the majority of tree cavities in this area.
 
 
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