Camellia – Damaged By Squirrels and Sapsuckers

Q: My thirty-year-old sasanqua camellias are being murdered branch by branch. Something chews the bark off in rings and either kills them or allows fungus to kill them. What can I do?

A: I think you’re seeing gnawing done by squirrels after a sapsucker woodpecker made holes in the trunk. It’s not clear if a sapsucker visited your camellia initially but squirrels are the only creature able to climb up in them and gnaw the bark away to get to the semi-sweet sap.

If the gnawing goes completely around a limb, it will die.

Effective squirrel repellents are few and far between. Try spraying with Hot Pepper Wax and see if that helps.

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