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Have you ever wondered what those giant, gaping holes are on the trunks of trees? These holes are known as tree cavities and if they are big enough, they can pose a great threat to the surroundings, and the trees can ultimately fall down. So, you may have to find emergency tree services for the removal of the tree before it falls. Here is everything you need to know about tree cavities.

What Are Tree Cavities?

Trees can have hollow and large holes on the trunk or the base, and this is a perfect spot for animals like squirrels and birds like owls, hummingbirds, and sparrows to reside in. These holes are generally known as tree cavities. Trees can get old over time and it can cause hollow holes in the trunk. It’s a very common phenomenon for trees to get cavities and there might be a lot of reasons behind it.

Cavities can occur in trees that are old and have thick trunks because a cavity needs to have a reasonable amount of space to form a hollow hole, and that’s not possible in trees that are young or have thinner trunks. Trees can also have enlarged cavities because some animals, like woodpeckers, can drill holes in the tree trunk, and over time, these holes can get large and the cavity can become deeper.

Another major cause of tree cavities can be a tree wound. A tree wound doesn’t typically consist of holes, but if a wound is left untreated for a long time or it’s gone unnoticed, then the wound can penetrate deep, and it can eventually form a hole in the tree trunk. Other times, a tree might just be extremely malnourished and it might not be getting enough food and water and this can lead to the formation of cavities all over the trunk.

Last, but not least, there is a natural factor that can cause cavities as well, and that’s lightning. Lightning storms and thunderstorms can target trees and one strike of lightning can make a huge hole in the trunk of the tree and over time, it can turn into an actual cavity.

Tree Cavities – A Refuge For Birds And Animals

A lot of the time, you might have seen animals and birds residing in the holes or cavities of different trees. It’s not only a place of refuge and shelter for animals and birds, but it can also classify as a full-fledged home for these creatures. Since deeper and larger tree cavities are at a point of no return and there’s nothing you can do to treat the cavity and fill it up, it can become a comfortable home for small animals like squirrels, bats, otters, and different birds too.

If there is a very old cavity in a tree, then there is a high possibility that an animal or a bird is living in it. There is enough space for birds to build a nest and for different animals to give shelter to their little ones. It’s a nice and cozy place for animals and it’s best that you don’t disturb them and let them be. If there is wildlife living in the cavities of trees, then you might want to leave it be and not fill it or employ treatment methods, because you’ll be robbing harmless animals of their homes.

Are Tree Cavities Dangerous?

There are a lot of opinions regarding tree cavities and the implication that they can be dangerous, which is why they should be dealt with. But you don’t want to act on hearsay and it’s important to know the facts for yourself.

First and foremost, tree cavities are not dangerous, for the most part. If you see a cavity starting to form on a tree, then don’t worry too much about it because a tree is capable of handling itself. A tree, as long as it’s healthy, well-watered, and isn’t showing any signs of decay, can make up for the lost nutrients, because of a cavity. Nature has an amazing defense mechanism against harsh conditions and one great thing about trees is that they can compartmentalize.

Compartmentalization is a defense mechanism of a tree, in which it can block off the damaged and decayed areas and doesn’t allow food and nutrition to be wasted in a place that can’t be brought back to health.

Old Trees

A tree cavity doesn’t pose any threat to the tree itself. However, in older and weak trees, a major issue might be the weakening of the roots and the tree ultimately falling down. This is why you shouldn’t have any older trees with cavities near your home, otherwise, the slightest wind and impact can loosen the tree and it can fall. Before it happens, protect your house and surroundings by calling in a tree removal service Bethesda.

Most of the time, wildlife living in the tree cavities can actually prevent the cavities from getting worse. The animals and birds living in the tree act as barriers against the climate, which can stop the extension of the cavity, so it isn’t a bad thing at all that animals take refuge in these holes, because it’s literally a win-win situation, both for the animals as well as the tree.

Treatment For Tree Cavities

If you are worried about a tree cavity and want to explore some effective treatment methods, then some of them are as follows:

  1. First things first, you don’t want to go close to a tree that is weak and can fall down. This is why it’s better to call someone in and have them inspect the tree and see if it’s safe to even deal with. Only after that, you can approach the tree and try to treat it.
  2. The best and safest way to clean out a cavity, if there’s a lot of dirt and loose material present in it, is to flush it with water. You don’t want to use any sharp tool to try to pry something out of a cavity. This will only make things worse and this can actually hurt the tree. You can use a water hose and flush the cavity with water and let all of the water escape before you do anything else. Another important and obvious thing to remember is that you need to make sure that there isn’t any bird or animal in the trunk and that it’s vacant when you’re flushing the cavity out.
  3. It’s a good idea to seal the cavity with a piece of glass or window screen. Some people might suggest using cement or spray foam to fill the cavity, but those are not good options and they might end up weakening the tree and it can lead to faster decay. A window screen is perfect since it’s not intruding the tree while keeping the cavity protected from weather and climate effects.
  4. Sometimes, if there is wildlife living in the cavity and the tree is in good health, then you can completely omit the treatment process altogether.


Tree cavities can be unpleasant to look at, but most times, these can also be a sight to see, especially if there are birds and animals in them. It makes for a perfect home for little animals and you can also enjoy the sight of it. However, if your tree is not supposed to have cavities and is weakening, get it removed by tree cutting services Potomac.


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