Diseases And Insects That Can Hurt Your Shagbark Hickory – And How To Prevent Further Damage To Your Tree And Yard

The shagbark hickory tree is a tall, noble-looking tree with gray bark that starts to sag and easily peel as the tree ages. Shagbarks have smooth white nuts that attract a variety of wildlife and large twisting branches thick with glossy green leaves for shade.  A shagbark hickory is a good addition to a large yard if you want some elegant shade and to attract a variety of wildlife.

Owning and overseeing trees involves knowing how to identify the symptoms of diseases and insect infestation so that you know when to call in a tree service. Early detection can sometimes mean the difference between life and death for your shagbark.

Spiculosa Canker Rot

Spiculosa canker rot is a fungal disease that only strikes shagbark hickories that have suffered bark damage due to storms, pruning mishaps, or other accidents. The fungus creates large, oval-shaped sores on the bark near the damage. The sores have a darker interior and a red-tinged ring that can make it look like the sore is infected.

Canker doesn't target healthy tree material, so calling in a tree service to cut away damaged branches should take care of the problem. The only time canker is a major threat to the tree is if the trunk has suffered a great deal of damage, which is hazardous for the tree even if there isn't a fungal disease present.

Crown Gall

Crown gall is a bacterial disease that causes tumor-like growths to form on the shagbark's roots, branches, and the area of trunk closest to the ground. The galls start off light white in color but darken and harden over time.

If the galls mostly grow on the surface of the tree, your tree service can solve the problem by simply snipping away the galls. The tree will still be infected, but the galls won't do any structural damage.

But galls that have deeper roots can interfere with the vascular system of the tree and start to cause dieback, which includes leaves withering and dropping and twigs and branches growing slower than normal. If the galls are affecting the tree in this manner, you will need to call in a tree removal service to destroy the tree and the galls.

Bark Beetle

The hickory bark beetle lays tiny white eggs under the bark of the shagbark hickory. Emerging larvae will tunnel into the tree for nutrients, which steals said nutrients from the vascular system of the tree and thus can start to cause dieback. As the beetles reach adulthood, the insects will also start eating at the leaves.

There is no treatment for bark beetle infestations, and your tree will need to be removed. You can lessen the chance of getting an infestation in the first place by hiring a tree service to routinely check and balance the soil around the tree and to trim away any damaged areas as soon as the damage occurs.  

For more information, contact Robert Jefferies Logging & Tree Service or a similar company.