Sap stains on trunk of pine tree

Asked May 1, 2019, 12:36 PM EDT

I have a pine tree that lost more than an average amount of needles last year, and even more this year. There is some new growth on the limb tips. The density of the bottom half of the tree has dropped dramatically from needle loss. I noticed this month (and this may have been there before but I didn't pay attention until I noticed how sparse the tree looked) that there is a whitish stain running down a couple areas of the trunk. The stains are at the bottom half of the trunk. I was wondering if this might be the result of a fungal canker, and if yes, what can be done?

Seaford, DE

Sussex County Delaware

3 Responses

Hi. Thank you for your question. Would you be able to take a couple of overall photos of the tree and send? It would be helpful to see what the overall tree looks like and where it is in the landscape.

Thank you,

The tree was planted in early 2012 at which time it was about 5 feet tall. Now, it is 15+ feet tall. I just noticed areas where the bark is falling off the tree. In addition to an overall picture, I have included a couple more pictures of the trunk. The overall picture is taken facing west.


From the picture, the tree may be a Douglas fir or a spruce. I suspect it probably was a live Christmas tree that you planted in the yard. The tree may have a needlecast disease caused by a fungus. The fungus infects the needles which produce spores the following spring to infect newly expanding young needles. Older two year old needles then drop over the season, resulting in thinning of the tree. Fungicide sprays with chlorothalonil are the best solution to manage this plant disease. Call a tree company to come and spray withing the next two weeks. They will need to spray again about 10 days later. The tree should begin to recover, but it will take two years. The fungal needlecast diseases are common in our area, but are very specific to the type of tree, so what gets on your tree will not go to others unless they are the same species of tree.

Thank you for contacting Cooperative Extension,