How To Get Rid Of Sapsuckers And Save The Tree?

Q: We have a sapsucker that routinely visits a wax myrtle in our yard. There
are now multiple series of unsightly holes. We want to repair the holes, save
the tree, and deter the sapsuckers. 

A: I don’t think I have ever seen a tree that I thought was killed by
woodpecker damage. I am not saying it can’t happen, since anything that
pierces the bark is somewhat damaging, but I have seen trees with hundreds of
holes that seem perfectly healthy. Sapsucker woodpeckers make very shallow
holes. The depressions need only be deep enough to exude sap from the tree’s
cambium layer. My observation is that trees have no problem healing from
this kind of damage. I don’t believe there is an effective or practical way to
deter the birds. If you water your wax myrtle when it is dry in summer, it
should be fine despite the unsightliness.

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