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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pine Tree Dripping Sap from Holes

Q. I have a one-acre lot in east Las Vegas with large pine trees. One of the trees recently started dripping lots and lots of sap. Upon inspection, we found some horizontal lines of holes in the bark.  Other areas the sap is just dripping from the natural seams of the bark.  I looked online and it suggests a bird rather than a borer if the holes are in lines. Are there woodpeckers in Las Vegas?

A. Yes, we have the yellow-bellied sapsucker here which is in the family of woodpeckers. They cause the kind of damage you are seeing and drill holes in horizontal lines which can drip sap. It looks a little bit like someone took a drill and drilled holes in the tree close together and in a straight line.

There is not much you can do except to try to exclude these birds from the trunk which is difficult. The good news is that these trees can live many years with this type of damage from this bird if the tree is healthy and growing.

Big pine trees use a lot of water so make sure yours is receiving enough water in the spring and summer months so that it will grow enough and recover from the damage.

If damaged trees do not grow enough to recover from the bird damage then it can be a problem for the tree. 

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