The Q&A Archives: Spruce Bark Split and Leaking

Question: I have just purchased an older home and when trimming dead lower limbs from my evergreen I noticed the bark appeared split in one spot close to ground and that there was a whitish liquid leaking from the spot. Is this something I need to be concerned about or just a natural occurance? What do I do if it is trouble?

Answer: My thought is that the white liquid is pitch (sap) from the tree that has hardened. If you compare humans to trees, their bark is like our skin, and any opening can allow infection to enter. There are numerous reasons why bark cracks - fungal and bacterial infections already present can cause cankers to grow; weed-whacking too close to trees can cut bark; insects and animals chew bark, too. Your agricultural extension office (ph# 314/583-5141) can put you in touch with someone who can visit to identify the problem and prescribe a solution, often at no cost to you. Or, if you like, you can write back to us for a solution, once the problem has been diagnosed. Good luck in your new yard!

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