Waterfall of pitch

Asked November 17, 2019, 6:50 PM EST

We have a Ponderosa Pine tree that has a waterfall of pitch/sap dripping from at least 3 locations. This has not happened before. It has cones but did not drop many of them and it is now mid November. We have more Juniper than pine trees on our property and hope that this is nothing serious that would effect the other pines.

Deschutes County Oregon

2 Responses

Hi, Heavy masses of pitch is usually an indication of an insect pest called Sequoia Pitch Moth. It is quite common here in Central Oregon and generall attacks trees under some sort of environmental stress (e.g. drought, compaction, etc). The good news is that it rarely kills a tree especially larger trees but can create a sticky mess if the tree is near a home. There is no chemical control for Sequoia Pitch moth, but some cultural controls to prevent it from moving onto other trees. Any pruning should be done in winter (November through February) when the female moth is not around as she is attracted to the smell of pitch in open pruning cuts. She lays her egg(s) in the wound and the larvae try to tunnel into the sapwood, the tree responds by trying to "pitch" out the larva. Here is some additional information on this pest: https://pnwhandbooks.org/node/7010/print and https://utahpests.usu.edu/uppdl/files-ou/factsheet/sequoia-pitch-moth-2016.pdf

Thank you. All of this information is very helpful.