I was pruning some forsythia, and I noticed that there was a hole through the center of many of the major woody parts. It looks as if (only) the pith had been bored out. I'm wondering what could cause this, or if it's common.

I saw only a few mentions of this online: one question with no answer and another that seems to suggest that this is normal in older wood.

I hope the description is adequate; I could take a picture of the trimmings if it's not clear (not my plants and I didn't think to snap a picture). The plants are otherwise reasonably healthy-looking, and flowered well this past season. Is this normal/common in healthy forsythia? Wood-boring insects?

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    Pictures are always welcome, especially close-ups of the damaged parts. Thanks, and welcome to the site! – Niall C. Jun 15 '15 at 14:29
  • This is not an answer but an 2019 example. I have holes in about half my stems of my 35-year-old Forsythia. The holes are beautifully centered and I see no pests. It was just accidentally "trimmed" to near the ground as a weed/tree had planted itself right next to the roots and my yard help was confused. I'm not sure if the root is still alive as our record -26 degrees killed my Rose-of-Sharons and most Boxwoods. My plan is see if it sends shoots from the roots next year. These posts have given me hope that it might not be sick. Thanks. – Sharon Sep 4 '19 at 16:56

I have worked with Forsythia ovata and the Northern Gold cultivar and observed hollow stems on the older woody growth. This is not too unusual with woody plants as the core of the stem is not actively growing tissue and often used for storage.

This encyclopedia article mentions an additional three Forsythia species with hollow stems.

This is a natural feature that is not due to pests.

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