Trying to find out what's going on with this tree

Asked September 22, 2020, 1:29 PM EDT

Hi. We have a tree on our backyard. It isn't on my our property but our house is pretty close. It seems like it 'leaks', I can't find a way to discribe it. I 'cleaned' it the other day and now it seems like it gest dry but I'm worried it's sick ans not safe. Can you please look at the pictures? Thanks, Michal Aharoni

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Hello Michal,

Unfortunately we cannot determine the original cause of damage to the tree's bark, but this reaction of what appears to be oozing sap can be normal for injuries. Perhaps it had a phenomenon called slime flux or wetwood which a wild animal tried to chew or peck into, causing the torn and frayed layer of wood under the bark.

Injuries to bark can allow for entry by wood-decay microbes or insects, but trees do have internal defense mechanisms to help prevent this from happening. (Not an immune system per se, but tissues can wall-off the damage from healthy areas to hamper its spread.) We cannot determine from the symptoms visible here if any internal decay has begun or if the wound is closed-off internally. It wouldn't hurt to have a certified arborist inspect the tree for other issues or signs of stress or damage. You can use the second and third links on this page to search for an arborist if needed: