Weird pest problem on my Amelanchier

I've got a Service Bush (Amelanchier) growing in a pot in my garden, and it's been showing a bit of reduced vigour this year which I put down to the dry/hot weather.

But then I spotted some weird reddish bobbles on the soil surface below it, and on further examination, these seemed to be somehow coming out of a depression low down on the trunk. Looking up the trunk I found a hole, maybe like a grub flight hole?

The bobbles don't seem to be alive. What's going on? And what can I do about it?

I've taken pictures -- here's the odd depression that's shedding the bobbles, with the bobbles in attendance:


and here's the hole I found further up the tree:


It got some wind damage earlier this year, which cracked the stem/trunk a bit. I think this might be in the same place.

There's about a 50cm of trunk (stem?) between the two signs of damage, and the leaves and berries are mostly looking fine, weirdly. No wilt, no die back (yet).

Anyone know what my pest is, and what I can do about it? I'm fond of the plant, and it has a lovely shape.


  • CeresCeres Posts: 1,492

    Have you examined the bobbles closely? They could be wood that has been excavated by a borer of some sort.

  • The little bobbles  crumble if crushed -- it could be frass from a borer maybe, that would look like pellets of sawdust? I've turned up some stuff about borers in Amelanchier from America, e.g. 

    These suggest that borers might attack a service bush if it was already stressed by drought, so that's probably it.

    It's such a small tree, I'm amazed it's not just keeled over! The borer grub must be taking up half the branch, how does it still have green leaves on it?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,692

    I have a multi-stemmed Amelanchier ... is yours single stemmed?  Could you/would you coppice it?

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • It's single stemmed, with a low fork which produces a lovely double arch, really graceful. I could conceivably take out the branch which has the higher flight-hole on it, but it would do nothing for the look of the tree, and even if I did, there's also infestation trace are on the main trunk, close to the ground.

    Full coppice might be an option. I trimmed off some shoots sprouting from the base of the trunk in the spring, suggesting that the tree itself may have been considering that option!

    But when it's this dry, I think anything drastic runs risk of instant death

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,692

    Oh yes, I wouldn't coppice at this time of year!  I was thinking of a possible future option image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Apparently sometimes plants survive this (depending on the level of damage) so I'll just give it some TLC for now I think and see how things develop -- the re-sprout from the base makes me hopeful I'll be able to do something (it's a real toughie). 

    I did also see what looked suspiciously like a parasitic wasp buzzing around, so possibly my biological controls have already turned up!

    If I do need to coppice, it'd be in dormancy, right? Jan-Feb?

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