I don't know how I missed it, but one of my apple trees has been bored by some insect(s) or even maybe by birds practically through: apple tree hole

Now, the tree still looks healthy, all the leaves are green, there are budding apples, etc, but the hole obviously isn't healthy. It also goes practically through all of the tree diameter, if I put in a stick it seems to go to bark on the other side. The only blessing is that the hole doesn't seem to become larger on inside:

hole closeup

Now, what can I do to save it, if possible?


No action is needed on your part. Trees grow differently than animals. The bark is not alive and functions as a protective skin. The next layer down is the cambium where all the action happens including fluid and gas transport. The inner part of the tree starts off alive as a storage area but as the tree increases in diameter it becomes dead.

The cut limb allowed water and air to start the rot of the dead tissue. It is likely the inside of the tree is hollow but this is no obstacle to continued growth as the action happens in the cambium.

This picture from infovisual may assist. The pith and heartwood do not need to be present for the tree to grow.

Research has also shown that plugging wounds or tar actually make it easier for rot to set in. If you wait the tree will seal the wound by growing over the edges with new cambium.

enter image description here

  • So I shouldn't even try to ensure that the wound is not being anymore attacked? I must confess I didn't see any insects, but I would presume they would be drawn to the wound? No anti-insecticides or something like that on the sides of the wound, which goes all through pith and other side of cambium?
    – Gnudiff
    Jul 23 '19 at 19:11
  • 2
    It's not insects. This is just wood rotting due to moisture and fungal decay. Most insecticides work if they are applied on the insects. If you want the bright side this is prime housing for some birds.
    – kevinskio
    Jul 23 '19 at 19:18
  • 2
    The crumbs may also indicate an industrial bird working on creating the aforementioned real estate.
    – Stephie
    Jul 23 '19 at 21:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.