How to Protect Your Trees from Woodpeckers

Usually, hosting a variety of birds in your trees is half the joy of having them. But some birds are considered unwelcomed guests, and woodpeckers are at the top of that list. As they peck through your trees’ bark to find sap, they leave behind rows and rows of drilled holes. While woodpeckers rarely kill trees, those holes leave the trees vulnerable to disease and burrowing insects. Follow these three tips to protect your tree trunks.

1. Wrap the trunks in mesh cloth.

Even a thin fabric barrier is usually enough to deter woodpeckers. Once you spot signs of woodpecker damage, wrap the trunks in a thin mesh until the birds lose interest. Depending on the season, wrapping your trunks might already be part of your seasonal yard preparation. Once the birds have left, it should be safe to unwrap the trunks.

2. Scare the birds away.

Birds don’t like reflective surfaces. So temporarily hang shiny deterrents like strips of mylar or old CDs to scare them off. If your yard has a woodpecker problem every year, look for shiny, metallic yard decorations that you won’t mind keeping up all year long. Decoy predators are hit or miss since woodpeckers are clever enough to realize they aren’t a threat.

3. Check for nests or hiding spots.

Once woodpeckers get comfortable on your property, it’s even harder to get rid of them. So check the surrounding trees and even the eaves near your attic to check for any signs of woodpeckers. Roust them out by covering the space with chicken wire or bird netting so they can’t land. Eventually, your yard will be given up for more accessible shelter elsewhere.

For more tree care tips, visit our Tree University Blog. You can also contact one of our neighborhood arborists to learn about our shrub and tree care programs for helping you keep your shrubs and trees healthy and beautiful.

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