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In the Garden


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#1 barefut

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 06:20 PM

Okay, I have a FAMILY of sapsuckers destroying my precious and sentimental White Birch tree. My sister gave it to me as a gift and my oldest son and I planted it together when he was 3 years old. We planted it in honor of our dog Tucker who died in kennel care while we were visiting family out of state.

It is now big and beautiful and provides much needed shade on the south side of our house. I love the way the leaves sound in the breeze just outside my bedroom window and I love sitting in the cool grass in it's shade on a hot day.

How can I save the poor thing? These sapsuckers are bold and relentless. They don't even seem to mind me approaching. I could very nearly pluck the peksy little suckers off with my bare hand and toss them off of my tree!

The damage was bad enough with one, now momma and poppa sapsucker have shown thier babies where to dine. All kinds of bugs are now enjoying their dinner too as a result.

The guy at the garden center recommended a sealing spray and a burlap-like tree wrap. I am doubtful that will do the trick and I can only go so far up the trunk with that. Anybody have any advice?

Thanks,
Tree Hugger

#2 jefa

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 08:30 PM

Here is something I found.

Recurrent sapsucker damage may be prevented in susceptible trees by wrapping damaged areas with a loose, coarse material such as burlap. Such trees also should be fertilized and watered properly to stimulate growth and maintain overall health.

Repel birds with visual repellents such as whirlers; streamers; spinners; reflectors; and plastic hawks, owls, or snakes, etc. These methods may be helpful, but not be consistently effective. Under any circumstances, the techniques must be varied and devices moved, at most every other day, or birds soon learn that such items are harmless and ignore them.

The article said that these birds are protected by state and federal law, so you can't do anything to harm them. Another article mentioned planting other tasty trees to spread them around. Apparently they have a small local area near their nest which is in deadwood nearby.
Warm wishes,
Jefa

Carrie Maddoux
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International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#3 Sweet

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:20 AM

Hey Barefut

You may or may not be correct in assuming the sapsucker is at fault.

The sick birches you see most likely have nothing to do with sapsuckers, they do little actual damage in their mating displays and feeding activities.

The dead tops on birches in our area are caused by infestations of birch borer, the larvae of which burrow under the bark and cut off sap flow. Birch leaf miner also causes visible damage to the leaves (white tunnels between the inner and outer surfaces of the leaves) - people notice it and assume is a big problem, but it's effect is actually minor on the tree. Birch borer is really the culprit. Chemical treatments to, in theory, kill the birch borer are frequently just as detrimental to the tree as the insect itself, as well as being toxic to humans.
The best treatment (or prevention) is to keep your birches as healthy and unstressed as possible, which simply means ample watering. It's the simplest thing in the world, but so rarely done here...
Wood peckers (sapsuckers are in that family) are usually going after insects that are within the wood of a tree or siding and not really going after the wood itself...so double check for carpenter ant activity or something like that...

Warm and gentle hugs,

Pamela
ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#4 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 04:32 PM

Well, since I'm not a gardener or a tree carer, or an orinthologist or such -- I had not heard of sapsuckers before, so I became quite concerned about a bold and relentless family of sapsuckers (those naughty things/people/animals?) attacking your tree, Barefut.

Now I'm just relieved that we are even able to offer bird and tree care advice around here, while providing me with an education at the same time.

I mean, who'd ever think we'd be capable of that? And I am just really hoping there will be no demand for it in 22 other languages... Everyone around here just heartens -- and amazes -- me, all the time!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#5 barefut

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 03:23 PM

Jefa,

Thanks for the info. It makes perfect sense to fertilize to help my tree's overall health and I do keep him watered well.

I didn't know sapsuckers were protected. My oldest suggested I buy him a BB gun :lol: I would never do that anyway. I am going ahead with the tree wrap and may try out a rubber snake or plastic owl.

One thing I wasn't sure of is, should I power spray the oozing sap off the tree, let it dry and then use the protective spray? (The spray's directions didn't say) Or leave the sap oozing, since it is nature's own bandaid? I'm afraid if I don't hose it off, it will attract even way more bugs (ants, gnats and bees, so far) But then the birds come back and eat the bugs too so, I just don't know.....?!

Sweet~

I have heard of the borers and my tree survived a season of those and did really well the next year - I was so relieved! So far, no evidence of borers again (leaves still green) but I'm sure these sapsuckers make it even more suseptible. I hope birch Trees have 9 lives...

Shelley~

Well, you said the Den was for discussions of non-sclero-related things, so leave it to me to come up with something as obscure as sapsucker problems! :lol:

Sapsuckers are from the woodpecker family and mine are of the Red-breasted variety. They have long tongues and drink the sap that oozes from the many, many, many, many holes they peck into beautiful, innocent trees. I love birds too and the sapsucker is pretty cute I have to admit but I wish he'd feed himself and his family somewhere else!

#6 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 03:48 PM

Yes, Barefut, we certainly did say the Sclero Den is for non-sclero items. But now can you just imagine, somebody someday is going to do a search on sapsuckers and walk away scared to death that their tree is going to die from scleroderma?

You can just bet on it... :blink:
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#7 Purr

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 08:09 AM

Shelly,

Either that or people with scleroderma will think they got it from sapsuckers!! :lol:
Love makes the world go around!

#8 Michelle2

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 11:35 AM

I couldn't help but click into this link. I had no idea what a sapsucker was. Well thanks to you guys I now know. Can you tell that I am really not a gardener either. I try, but most stuff dies. It's really quite sad.

Good luck with conquering your sapsuckers! ;)
Take care and stay warm,

Michelle

#9 barefut

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 05:23 PM

Shelley and Purr~

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

#10 Sweet

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 09:25 AM

Shelley and Purr, you crack me up. I needed that really good laugh today, so thannks!!!
Warm and gentle hugs,

Pamela
ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)