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Tree trunk damage

We have a well established ornamental Cherry tree and some years ago a large branch (situated approx 3mtrs from the base) was removed. This is now a crumbly area with 2mm exit holes evidencing some sort of pest, although we have not seen any creepy crawlies. Can anyone help identify the problem and or suggest a remedy please?



  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,693


    picture below describes the symptoms very well. Round holes in the bark of the tree are visible, most frequently in the main stem. Repeated attacks result not only in holes in the bark but the bark begins to lift off the surface of the inner wood. The Shot hole Borer is most common on plum, apple, pear and cherry trees.

    Shot hole Borer damage in a Plum Tree

    The holes are caused by the Shot hole Borer beetle and the life cycle is as follows:

    The adult beetles (black / dark brown) bore small holes into the wood in May / June time where they lay about 50 eggs.
     The eggs pupate into larvae which feed on the wood.
     About two months later the larvae have turned into adult beetles and they bore their way out of the wood leaving the characteristic small round holes.
     In August / September the adults then bore their way back into the bark where they lay eggs.
     The eggs overwinter and appear as adults in May / June time starting the lifecycle again.

    In most cases plum trees which are affected are already weak and the shot hole borers cause even more damage. In the UK there are no insecticide / pesticide sprays to prevent or cure shot hole borers. Your only option (with only a very slim chance of success) is to improve the general health of the tree. In reality, it is probably best to dig up the tree, burn it and start again. Do not plant new fruit trees in the same position.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Thank you so much for your detailed reply. It certainly looks as if this could be the culprit and I hadn't picked it up in the list of possible causes. It's a shame as the tree is over 40 years old and such an important part of our garden. 

    Thanks again.

    Last edited: 29 July 2016 00:17:49

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