Holes in White Oak Leaves: Reasons and Solutions

Do you have a tree in your yard with leaves that are riddled with holes? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are noticing this strange phenomenon in oak trees this year. In this blog post, we will explore the possible causes of these holes and suggest some solutions.

Why Are There Holes in My White Oak Leaves?

The most likely reason for holes in white oak leaves is that the tree is infested with a pest. The most common culprit is the oak shothole leafminer, but there are many other pests that could be to blame.

The oak shothole leafminer is a small fly that lays its eggs on the leaves of oak trees. The larvae hatch and tunnel into the leaves, causing the characteristic holes. This pest is most active in late spring and early summer, which explains why so many people are noticing holes in their oak leaves right now.

Inspect your oak leaves carefully to see if you can spot any larvae. If so, you’ll need to take action to get rid of them. The good news is that there are many products on the market that will kill leafminers, so you should be able to find one that works for you.

How to Treat White Oak Leaves with Holes?

To get your tree back on track, start by pruning off any leaves that are heavily infested with leafminers. This will help to reduce the population of this pest and give your tree a chance to recover.

Next, you’ll need to treat your tree with an insecticide. My favorite type is neem oil (Amazon link), which is a natural product that is effective and won’t harm your oak tree when used correctly.

However, the neem oil should be used at the perfect time – just when the leaves are forming and the larvae are hatching. This can be tricky to time, so you may want to ask your local nursery or extension office for help.

After you’ve treated your tree, be sure to keep an eye out for any new infestations. If you spot any, be sure to treat them right away so they don’t have a chance to take over your tree again.

The work of a oak shot leafminer
The work of an oak shot leafminer

How to Keep Pests Away From White Oak Leaves?

To prevent pests from damaging your oak leaves in the future, there are a few things you can do.

First, be proactive by applying neem oil to your tree before the leafminers have a chance to lay their eggs. This will help to keep the population of this pest under control.

Next, make sure to remove any leaves that fall from your tree in the autumn. These leaves can harbor pests and diseases that could harm your tree next year, so it’s best to get rid of them.

Finally, promote predatory insects in your yard by planting native plants that attract them. These insects will help to keep the population of leafminers under control, which will protect your oak tree in the future.

By following these tips, you can keep your white oak leaves healthy and free from holes. Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

What Else Causes Holes in White Oak Leaves?

It’s not just oak shothole leafminers that can cause holes in oak leaves. There are a few other issues to watch out for:


Certain diseases, such as oak wilt and anthracnose, can cause holes in oak leaves. These diseases appear as yellow or brown spots on the leaves, which then turn to holes as the leaves die.

If you think your tree might have a disease, it’s best to contact a certified arborist or tree care professional for help. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a course of treatment.

In some cases, trees with diseases can be saved with the application of a fungicide. However, in other cases, the tree will need to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Wind Damage

Strong winds can also cause holes in oak leaves. This usually happens when branches rub against each other in high winds, which damages the leaves.

If you notice wind damage on your oak leaves, there’s not much you can do about it. The best thing to do is to wait until the next growing season and hope that the leaves will grow back healthy.


There are certain animals, such as deer, that can cause holes in oak leaves. This usually happens when the animals eat the leaves, but it can also happen if they rub against the leaves and damage them.

If you have a problem with animals eating your oak leaves, you’ll need to take steps to deter them. One option is to install a fence around your tree. You can also try using repellents or scare tactics, such as hanging shiny objects from the branches of your tree.

Of course, the best way to prevent animal damage is to avoid planting trees in areas where these animals are known to roam. If you live in an area with a lot of deer, for example, it’s best to choose a different type of tree for your yard.

Should I Prune White Oak Leaves with Holes?

It’s only necessary to prune oak leaves with holes if the damage is severe. If more than half of the leaf is missing, for example, it’s best to remove the leaf so that the tree can focus its energy on new growth.

Pruning damaged leaves will also help to improve the overall appearance of your tree. If you have a lot of leaves with holes, it can make your tree look unkempt. By removing these damaged leaves, you can help your tree to look its best.

Of course, you should only prune oak leaves if you know what you’re doing. It’s important not to over-prune trees, as this can damage them and cause problems in the future. If you’re not sure how to prune your tree, it’s best to contact a certified arborist or tree care professional for help.


To sum up, there are a few different reasons why you might find holes in white oak leaves. The most common cause is oak shothole leafminers, but other causes include disease, wind damage, and animal damage.

I hope this article has helped you to understand the reasons behind holes in white oak leaves. If you have any questions or tips to share, please leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!

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