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fraker

What is destroying my Willow?

last month
last modified: last month

Located in SE Mich. near Ann Arbor This damage was done within the last 4 days. Is there anything I can do or is it just a matter of time until the tree falls? Although the wood inside the wound looks striated, there are no ants or eggs visible including within the sawdust. Help!



Comments (20)

  • last month




  • last month

    Consider having an arborist out to look at the tree but I am doubtful it can be saved with damage that extensive. I wonder if the tree had some sort of borer infestation and an animal or woodpecker tore open the tree to access a meal.

    fraker thanked Design Fan
  • last month

    That is a disturbing amount of immediate physical damage.


    I have never lost a tree to a Beever....


    Is the tree out on the back 40 where if it fails it won't fall on anything important?

    fraker thanked Toronado3800 Zone 6 St Louis
  • last month
    last modified: last month

    No kidding! I nearly fell off my mower when i saw it! After posting I noticed another 2” diameter hole which looks much like a woodpecker’s. Perhaps my yard was also visited by a Pterodactyl! The tree is located far enough from any structures that it wont cause any damage when it falls, but if it lands in the pond, It will be a bugger to get it out. Should it fall the other way, It will flatten my carefully “curated“ wall of phragmites.

    I have an arborist coming later this week to tell me there’s no hope and that I should take it down.


    The damage is on the backside of the trunk from this vantage point.

  • last month

    Appears to be heart rot. Weeping willows have a life expectancy of at most 50 years and can be 20-30 years.

    The inside wood is dead and now the birds are digging into it so they can eat the bugs that are feeding/breeding on/in the dead wood.

    fraker thanked BillMN-z-2-3-4
  • last month

    Willows can survive in a terrible state. They're hard to kill. Pollarded willows, fallen willows, lightening struck willows can all stand for decades pushing out shoots and continuing to provide wildlife habitat. Since it won't hurt anything if it falls I'd be intrigued to watch and wait. If it fell in the pond I'd leave it. More habitat. Not everything needs to be tidied up.


    fraker thanked floraluk2
  • last month

    I've had porcupines do that to trees on my property.


    Regards,


    Will

    fraker thanked Will M65(SE,PA 7A)
  • last month
    last modified: last month

    You could nail a screen in front of the hole.

    My guess is a piliated woodpecker, but typically they prefer soft, rotting wood, so even without the excavation, it was perhaps already having real issues. Here's some piliated woodpecker "work" on a basswood close to my lot (basswood's wood is soft).



    fraker thanked bengz6westmd
  • last month

    ' I know that tar which some spray on the wounds from cut limbs is not generally advised, but could it help to seal off the wildlife buffet? '


    Just say no, the wood is dead already and tar or other sealant would just hold moisture inside causing further rot. Best leave things to Mother Nature. ;-)


    Pileated wood peckers are huge and can give the feeling of seeing a Pterodactyl swooping in for a meal. ;-)

    We had a box elder tree across the street where we watched the birds (pileated woodpeckers and other types) for years, work the dead spots, leaving multiple holes like the ones in your tree fraker. It was leaning toward the house there badly, so the owners finally removed it.

    fraker thanked BillMN-z-2-3-4
  • last month

    Thank you Beng and Bill, I appreciate your thoughts and advice. An Arborist is coming later this week. I will update then

  • last month
    last modified: last month

    I'd enjoy the woodpeckers rather than fighting them. You're lucky to have them.

    fraker thanked floraluk2
  • last month

    Have you heard a woodpecker pecking on it? That sound can be heard for quite a distance.

    fraker thanked woodrose
  • last month

    I suppose the wood is so rotten it doesn't make a sound.

    fraker thanked BillMN-z-2-3-4
  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Woodrose, there is a difference between their territorial "drumming", which is purposely very loud, and their excavating. I've watched before -- their excavating work is actually relatively quiet.

    fraker thanked bengz6westmd
  • last month
    last modified: last month

    Yes, sometimes the woodpeckers will find something made of sheet metal and they'll really make a racket then.

    fraker thanked BillMN-z-2-3-4
  • last month

    There is nothing you can do... that is not contrary to nature...


    As the Beatles said...let it be..and just watch what happens over the next decade...


    As flora noes...as it looks today...it will probably collapse to the ground and regenerate from the roots until it dies....


    Go Blue forever...I will hate ward til the end of time for letting Jim go...but give him 2 thumbs up for dumping juan...


    Ken


    Ps...if at any time it starts pissing you off...just get rid of it....life's too short... for your trees to piss you off

    fraker thanked ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
  • last month

    Thank you, Ken!


    I couldn’t agree more about Jim and Juan. I’ve got nothing but high hopes for Sherrone.


    Your advice is in line with the Arborist’s from Davey Tree who visited me yesterday. Let it be. His thoughts were in line with the collective wisdom in these replies above: probably a pileated woodpecker. He agreed that based on the tree’s location, he would just let nature take its course. Were it a prized tree in a different location they might recommend a targeted fertilization and pruning program, and interestingly they might empty a can of Great Stuff expanding foam into the cavity to discourage a return visit by the woodpecker-or someone else who might like to move in to the new construction ground floor condo with a waterfront view. Perhaps I’ll get a can of foam and give it a try.

    …but at the end of the day, its pretty hard to outsmart Mother Nature.


    Go Blue!

  • last month

    Have you taken a cutting to start the replacement?

    fraker thanked cecily 7A
  • last month

    I wouldn't put anything in the hole. Why? Because that would reduce the drying effect of the air inside the hole, and moisture is the best friend of rot.

    fraker thanked bengz6westmd