What Causes Cavities in Trees in Murrieta, CA?

Many trees feature tree hollows and cavities as part of their architecture. While some of these wounds may impact a tree’s health long-term, many healthy specimens will handle the holes themselves. 

Since they’re a common sight, do you ever wonder what causes cavities in trees? As the go-to tree service in Murrieta, California, E.L.M. Tree Care delves into the causes of tree cavity formation and what, if anything, to do about them.

Where Do a Tree’s Cavities Come From?  

Most holes in trees arise after an injury or damage, typically caused by the following events:


Heavy storms and inclement weather often break branches, which can tear off large chunks of the bark from a tree trunk and cause a wound. 

Unfortunately, tree bark injuries or wounds often trigger successive events that then lead to hollow spaces in tree trunks. For example, fungi may attack the exposed section of the tree and initiate decay.  


Vehicles, trimmers, lawnmowers, and other equipment nick the tree’s trunk or even rip off sections of the tree bark. It’s a similar wound to what animals and birds can inflict on a tree. For example:

  • Carpenter ants tunnel through to breed or colonize the tree
  • Woodpeckers bore through, looking for insects or sap
  • Deer rub against or eat the tree bark and leaves, worsening any damage and slowing the tree’s recovery

Improper Pruning  

Damage also happens if bad cuts turn into cavities in trees. Proper pruning requires professional techniques, the correct tools, and caution. Otherwise, you could leave open wounds on the tree, which are entry points for pests and disease.

Tree topping, for example, can easily kill the tree. Cutting off the top of its canopy weakens branches, causes unhealthy sprouting, and prevents the leaves from photosynthesizing—the trees can’t heal.

How To Handle Tree Cavities  

Once you notice a cavity in your tree, inspect it thoroughly. The tree will likely compartmentalize the injured section. Sealing it off blocks access between the cavity and the rest of the tree to help it heal.

This defense mechanism prevents decay from affecting other parts of the tree. You shouldn’t fill the cavity or try to empty or drain it, as it could interfere with this natural compartmentalization.

Another Reason Managing Cavities in Tree Structures Is Important

The significance of cavities for tree ecology matters. Doesn’t your tree’s cavity serve as a habitat and hiding spot for various birds and animals?

Why not call a certified arborist to inspect your tree? Their understanding of tree health and cavity development should point you in the right direction.

Entrust Local Tree Experts With Your Tree’s Recovery

Cavities in your trees may not spell trouble. Check with E.L.M. Tree Care if you’re in California and want tree services that blend expertise with eco-friendly practices. The team’s top-tier tree care services include the following and more: 

  • Tree trimming   
  • Stump grinding and removal  
  • Emergency tree service  

Call E.L.M. Tree Care at (951) 216-3650 today for a free estimate in Murrieta, California. We can help whether you want more information about cavities in trees or pruning dead branches

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