Sap dripping from trunk of a Douglas fir tree

Asked June 27, 2016, 6:16 PM EDT

I have a old, large douglas fir tree next to my weekend house in Parkdale, Oregon. This weekend I noticed fresh sap that had drained onto the trunk in multiple spots from about 10 feet (Douglas fir tree-1.jpg) from the ground to the first branch coming off the trunk, maybe 20' from the ground (Douglas fir tree-3). I've owned the home for almost 3 years and have never noticed this before. There are other douglas firs on the property but didn't notice it happening to the other trees although I didn't check them closely. Do you think there is an insect, bird, or animal boring into the affected tree? Can you examine the tree or recommend someone in Hood River County who can help me? I've uploaded several images below. Thank you

Hood River County Oregon

1 Response

Sap dripping from Douglas-fir trees is a common symptom with a variety of possible explanations. This symptom is often referred to as "resinosus". One or just a few high-volume resin flows down low on the trunk often indicate a root disease or wood rot fungus. Numerous small flows higher up on the trunk may be symptoms of bark beetle attack.

Your photos appear to be higher-volume flows such as those resulting from root diseases or trunk rot. Oftentimes trees with such afflictions can hold off the disease and remain relatively healthy for decades as long as the tree is otherwise healthy with a vigorous crown. If the foliage appears to be declining - thinning out, turning yellow or dying back - that is a sign that the tree is losing the battle with root disease or other problem and is likely to continue to decline.