Can Woodpeckers Kill Trees? What You Should Know

Woodpeckers are interesting creatures that often peck tree stems in search of food. However, their constant pecking often leaves holes in trees, reducing their appearance and overall health. Although most people understand that a woodpecker’s continual pecking can damage trees, few know if they can actually kill them.

So, can woodpeckers kill trees? To find out, Tri-State Tree Service created a brief synopsis to teach you everything you need to know about woodpeckers and how they affect trees.

Tri-State Tree Service is one of Pensacola, FL’s leading professional tree care services. Our award-winning arborist can take your property’s curb appeal to the next level with exceptional tree care that complements your home’s best features. If you need tree health care in Pensacola, FL, call Tri-State Tree Service.

Why Do Woodpeckers Peck Tree?

Woodpeckers peck trees to uncover food within the tree stem. Some species eat wood borers, bark lice, and ants, while others feast on the tree sap. Some woodpeckers create holes within tree stems to store acorns or create nests. 

Although these imperfections may hinder the tree’s appearance, they won’t adversely affect the tree’s health. In fact, woodpeckers are actually beneficial at times since they feed on pests that infest trees and slowly reduce their health, appearance, and integrity. However, extensive damage can sometimes cause more harm than good.

How Woodpeckers Negatively Impact Trees

So, can woodpeckers kill trees? 

Although woodpeckers can create minor damage along the tree’s stem, the pecking won’t kill the tree. That said, the holes often provide entry for disease and pests that can kill the tree over time. 

Curbing tree disease is incredibly difficult and often takes time. Fortunately, woodpeckers target trees that are already in poor health unless they are trying to attract a mate or establish their territory. 

How to Prevent Woodpeckers from Pecking Your Trees

Wrapping a tree trunk in mesh or burlap will reduce woodpecker damage without harming the tree. Hanging reflective tape, streamers, or aluminum foil along the tree stems will also discourage woodpeckers from harming the tree. The reflecting light will scare the woodpeckers, causing them to take their business elsewhere.

Setting up a plastic owl around the tree will also reduce the chances of woodpeckers targeting your property. However, you’ll need to move the owl statue every two to three days to ensure woodpeckers don’t grow accustomed to it. 

It’s important to note that woodpeckers play an essential role in our environment and typically benefit trees more than harm them. Although woodpecker damage might look detrimental, it looks much worse than it is. Only take preventive action if the damage overwhelms healthy trees.

Contact Tri-State Tree Service for Outstanding Arborists and Tree Care in Pensacola, FL

Next time you wonder, “can woodpeckers kill trees?” contact Tri-State Tree Service. We will protect your trees from insects while providing outstanding services that help your exterior property reach its full potential. We have vast experience with all of the different types of trees and won’t rest until our services meet your high standards.Give Tri-State Tree Service a call at (850) 876-8003 today!


Tri-State Tree Service is an award-winning business supplying premier tree removal, tree trimming, and other tree care services to Florida’s northwest & Alabama's southeast coastal regions.

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6146 Mobile Hwy.
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