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Extension > Garden > Diagnose a problem > What's wrong with my plant? > Deciduous Trees > Hickory > Holes in trunk or branches

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Hickory > Trunk/Branches > Holes in trunk or branches

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  • Hickory bark beetle 1
  • Hickory bark beetle 2
  • Hickory bark beetle 3

Hickory bark beetle
Scolytus quadrispinosus

  • Small, 1/8th inch, round exit holes in trunk and branches
  • Heavily infested trees typically have sparse, yellowed leaves
  • Premature leaf drop and broken twigs in crown can also occur when heavily infested
  • Weakened, stressed trees most likely attacked, rarely infest healthy trees
  • High Hickory bark beetle populations are often associated with Hickory decline
  • Adults dark brown to black, less than ¼ inch long
  • More information on Hickory bark beetle
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  • Hickory decline 1
  • Hickory decline 2
  • Hickory decline 3

Hickory decline
Ceratocystis smalleyi and Scolytus quadrispinosus

  • Leaves are wilted or undersized, thin canopy with dead branches
  • When bark is peeled back, numerous reddish brown oval cankers up to 1 ft. long can be seen
  • Bark surface often shows no symptoms, occasionally cracking or dark sunken area can be seen
  • Dark bleeding spots that appear in May or June indicate cankers below the bark
  • Groups of young green shoots (sprouts) often form along the trunk; these wilt and die within a year
  • Round 1/8th inch exit holes of hickory bark beetles on upper trunk
  • Larval galleries often visible in discolored sapwood
  • Trees can decline and die in as little as two years when beetle populations are high
  • More information on Hickory decline
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  • Yellow bellied sapsucker 1
  • Yellow bellied sapsucker 2

Yellow bellied sapsucker
Sphyrapicus varius

  • Evenly spaced holes in main stem, approximately ¼ inch, arranged in a linear or columnar pattern
  • Repetitive tapping or drumming heard
  • Birds with black and white patterns, often some with red, seen tapping on trees
  • More information on Yellow bellied sapsucker
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  • Longhorned beetles 1
  • Longhorned beetles 2
  • Longhorned beetles 3

Longhorned beetles
Redheaded ash borer, Neoclytus acuminatus, and Living-hickory borer, Goes pulcher

  • Entrance holes at branch crotches can ooze sap and frass
  • Exit holes, 1/4 - 3/8 inch wide, first appear in June
  • Galleries start in phloem and eventually enter into sapwood; generally not very serpentine
  • Larvae are 3/4 to 1 inch long, cylindrical shaped bodies
  • More information on Longhorned beetles

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