I got to look at some pine trees this week in Abbeville. I love being in the shade of pine trees when it is this hot and dry. These are 17-year-old longleaf pine that we are raking pine straw from. The description on the phone sounded like pitch canker, but when I got there, I’ve never seen sap coming from the tree this low to the ground.
As you can see in the pictures below, the sap was about 12 inches off the ground, and on one side of the tree. Normally when we see pitch canker, it’s a little above head high, and it girdles the tree. Trees can live with pitch canker for a long time. But of course it makes them less quality and more likely to break in wind.
We called UGA Extension Forster Dr David Morehead from the stand, and he confirmed that this too is pitch canker. He said sometimes pitch canker occurs low to the ground and it’s on one side of the tree only. This is very characteristic of it. I never saw this kind of pitch canker before. We were seeing in less than 3% of trees affected, so it wasn’t too much.
Because the fungus is inside the plant cells, so there’s nothing that we can spray or treat, or even paint the tree that will help with the tree. The only thing I noticed is that trees with pitch counter down low to the ground, as in this case, look healthier and trees with typical pitch canker hat up and curling the tree.