Pitch Perfect

Hurt happens, even to trees. Bear claws and antlers. Carpenter ants and woodpeckers. Axes, chainsaws, unwary drivers.

But how do you bandage a tree?

Ma Nature’s first aid kit has the answer. It’s the sticky goo that oozes from wounds in the bark. That sticks to your fingers, your jeans, your hair. Your dog.

You might call it sap or pitch. Maybe resin. To a botanist those terms mean different things. Most of us probably just call it pitch.

It does what needs doing — seals the wound and keeps out germs. As the liquid evaporates it hardens, like honey as it crystallizes.

Take a gander the next time you pass a tree (especially one with needles rather than leaves). Small wound? Large one? Sticky or not? Old or new? Lots of answers if you ask some questions.

P.S. Sticky fingers? Rubbing alcohol is a good pitch-remover.

White spruce   Picea glauca


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