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Question and Answer: Disruptions in Branches (Apple Tree Borers)

An abnormality; disruptions in a branch.
Disruptions in Live Oak bark done by apple tree borers. Pruning out the affected limbs should be sufficient.

Published April 26, 2011 By NEIL SPERRY and STEVE HOUSER

Question: I have a new Live Oak that has these disruptions in its branches. What causes this, and what can I do about it? S., no city given.

Answer: I have seen this damage every once in a while, and I was never sure what caused it. I sent it to my tree expert buddies and they must have had a staff meeting about it. The consensus opinion of four of their outstanding arborists is that this is damage done by apple tree borers. Owner of the company, Steve Houser wrote back, “They seem to create a wound that does not heal (or compartmentalize) for a number of years.” Russell Peters, a recent Texas Arborist of the Year, wrote that “Management is to prune out the affected limbs. Usually this is not a persistent problem.”

I would add that it never hurts to get a certified arborist on the job, and in thanks for their work in helping me, I’ll tell you that their company has 13 such certified arborists. Thanks, guys!

About the author

Mr. Neil Sperry

Mr. Sperry, a McKinney resident, hosts Neil Sperry’s Texas Gardening from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sundays on WBAP-AM (820). Learn more at Each week, Mr. Sperry will offer tips and instructions for making the most of your North Texas garden.

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