Should I Be Concerned If I Find Holes In Trees on My Property?

Homeowners love the effect that beautiful trees can have on their landscapes, but many questions arise when those trees develop problems. One of the most common involves discovering holes in previously healthy trees. Learn what to do if you find holes in trees on your property from the experts at Griffin’s tree service company.

What Causes Holes in Trees To Develop?

If you find holes in your trees, inspect the severity of the structural damage. Holes vary in size, depth, and texture; each detail can help you piece together what’s happening to your trees. Some holes won’t kill healthy trees, but old or ailing trees may not survive a small invasion.

Many things can cause your tree to develop holes, including:


Wood-boring insects like beetles or moths may leave minuscule holes as they burrow into trees to lay eggs. While any homeowner can expect a few insects to dwell in their trees, an infestation may cause severe damage.

Many Georgian homes feature ash trees as part of their landscaping. These gorgeous trees attract the Emerald Ash Borer, an incredibly voracious invasive species that can kill trees within years. If tearing down or replacing your tree doesn’t interest you, hire a professional tree service to control the damage and perform maintenance to discourage infestations.


While squirrels certainly make themselves a nuisance, they typically won’t burrow into trees that don’t already have holes. Instead, they look for holes caused by other creatures, then use those to build their nests. In addition, squirrels like to chew away at rotted tree bark, creating a new problem if they gnaw through a limb or structural branch.

You can deter squirrels by using squirrel repellant or chicken wire to wrap young tree trunks, making it more difficult for them to dig into new bark.


Certain types of birds, like woodpeckers and sapsuckers, use their beaks to knock away bark until they can access the inside of a tree. While they typically don’t cause enough damage to leave you with dead trees, their holes leave room for other invasive species to take over. You can use bird netting, reflective tape, or aluminum foil as deterrents to avoid common Georgian birds like red-bellied woodpeckers.

When Should I Worry About Holes in Trees?

Some trees develop holes as a natural part of the aging process. Hollow trunks can stand for centuries, providing a beautiful and intriguing part of your landscaping. You can perform a basic inspection to check the severity of holes and damage to your trees.

1. Visual Inspection

Look for signs of insects like egg casings or live critters running over your tree. You can also look for signs of tree diseases, such as fungi, discolored bark, or dying limbs.

2. Smell Check

If your tree has severe wood rot, you may smell it before you see it. Wood rot has a musty odor that may indicate it’s time to pull a tree down.

3. Textural Feel

If you see holes in your tree trunk, run your fingers over them and push into the bark. Severely damaged trees may have a spongy feel below the holes, or the bark may have turned so brittle it falls away when you touch it. 

Call Georgia’s Professional Arborists for Tree Trouble

Keep your trees in their best health by working with a professional arborist experienced with Georgia’s environment from Georgia Tree Services. Our experts know how to diagnose and treat holes in trees of all sizes. Call (404) 751-8743 for a professional tree evaluation today.

Are you planning a new landscape design? Take a look at our tree planting spacing guide.

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