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Conifers/Italian Cypress Leaking Sap

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Question
Hello Jim,

One of my Italian Cypress has a lot of sap running down the trunk and appears to be falling behind in height compared to the others around it.  Is the sap a sign of an issue the tree is experiencing?

Thanks,
Steve

Answer
This is a canker disease. Seiridium canker, caused by Seiridium unicorne, is probably the most damaging disease on cypress. Plants of all sizes and ages are affected. Cankers may form on stems, branches and in branch axils causing twig, branch or, at least on smaller plants, stem dieback. Cankers appear as sunken, dark brown or purplish patches on the bark, often accompanied by extensive resin flow. It should be noted that resin exudation often occurs from the branches and stems of otherwise healthy plants of cypress thus resin flow by itself is not a diagnostic characteristic for Seiridium canker. Scattered twigs or branches killed by the fungus turn bright reddish brown, and are in striking contrast to the dark green healthy foliage. Fruiting bodies of the fungus appear on the bark surface of the cankers as small circular black dots barely visible to the naked eye. Spores of the fungus are spread to other parts of an infected tree, or from tree to tree by water splash from rain or irrigation. The fungus also can be spread from tree to tree on pruning tools. Long distance spread appears to be through the transport of infected cuttings or plants.

Currently there are no chemical control measures recommended for the disease in the landscape or nursery. Avoiding water stress and tree wounding may reduce infection. Infected branches or twigs should be pruned and destroyed as soon as symptoms are noted. Prune at least one inch below the canker, and sterilize the pruning tools between cuts by dipping them in rubbing alcohol or in a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water. Tools should be cleaned and oiled after using bleach to prevent rusting. Severely affected plants should be removed and destroyed.

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Jim Hyland

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Registered Forester in the Southern US with 30 years experiance in managing pines. Expert in pine forest health from management to control of pests to ID of species.

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