Camellia – Grooves in Bark

Q: A few camellia bushes in my yard have these circumferential ring-like lesions on the trunks of some of the larger branches. Can you tell what they are?

A: I think you have a combination of two things:

1. Sapsucker woodpeckers peck holes in the bark of tree trunks to feed on sap. Usually it’s individual holes tightly spaced in a ring as in photo #1.

2. Hornets, yellowjackets and paper wasps harvest the soft bark on trees, making rings around the limb as in photo #2. They use the soft wood to build their nest. There certainly are a lot of these insects around right now.

Neither situation typically results in permanent harm to the plant.



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