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Viburnum Shrubs

Q.What would drill rows of holes all the way round the trunks of a viburnum bush be from?

Zone Raleigh, NC 27613 | Anonymous added on March 30, 2020 | Answered

My beautiful and aromatic viburnum bush, which I planted over 25 years ago, is now over 10 feet tall and just beginning to bloom this spring. I noticed it has rows of shallow holes about 4 feet up each of the trunks. The holes go all the way around the trunks (girdling), in vertical rows 4 – 12 inches high (in a pattern like corn kernels on a cob). And the bark of the trunks is starting to fall off where the rows of holes are located. I’m worried that this will kill my lovely viburnum bush. Do you know what causes this? Is it woodpeckers (as my husband thought)? I didn’t think we had Sapsucker woodpeckers here in Raleigh (I’ve never seen any, although we have 5 other species of woodpeckers here – Pileated, Red-Bellied, Hairy, Downy, Northern Flicker, and one year we had a Red Headed Woodpecker). Will this kill the bush, and if so, is there anything I can do to save my viburnum bush? Should I tar over the areas to seal the trunks? Or should I just leave it and see what happens?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on March 31, 2020

It sounds like woodpecker damage. It is looking for insects, so you may have an insect problem to watch for. Here is a link to information about what to do about the woodpeckers.


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