Asked on Jan 20, 2013

What is this brown substance on a fallen pine branch?

LindaBeverlyRose Hopkins


The rain brought down some pine tree branches in our yard, and we found this brown substance over much of them. At first I thought it was some kind of lichen but it looks much scarier than that. Any idea what it is, and whether it indicates some kind of problem? (The pine cone in the picture should give you some idea of the size.)
10 answers
  • 3po3
    on Jan 20, 2013

    I know oozing sap can be a sign of pine beetles, and that is a serious problem around here. I think your best bet is to take a branch to your local cooperative extension office and have them investigate.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jan 20, 2013

    Does your tree otherwise seem healthy? If the damage is caused by pine pitch beetles, you should be able to see "pitch tubes" if you look closely at your tree. For an example, and more info, see this from Hometalk member and Georgia Gardener Walter Reeves:

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jan 20, 2013

    If it is sticky and resinous I would say it is in the "sap" group. If it is slimy or gelatinous it might be a slime mold.

  • Melissa G
    on Jan 20, 2013

    Thanks, all. I will look for those pitch tubes and maybe visit the local extension office too.

  • Melissa G
    on Jan 26, 2013

    Just wanted to update everyone -- I contacted the county extension service and they identified it as a fungus that grows on dead wood. It does not attack live trees and is nothing to worry about unless I see a lot of dead branches in the yard, which I'm not.

  • 3po3
    on Jan 27, 2013

    Very interesting. thanks for the update. Glad they could help. That's putting taxpayer dollars to great use.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jan 27, 2013

    Good news.

  • Rose Hopkins
    on Dec 31, 2014

    Its pine sap. An old pine stump will have what some people call rich lighter pine you can use it to start the fire place.

    • Terra Gazelle
      on Jan 1, 2015

      @Rose Hopkins When we bought our place it had some recently cut trees..there was an odor of pine pitch. The stumps were in a bad state of deterioration so we cut up the stumps fairly easily and had great kindling for the fire took very little to start a great fire. The Lighter comes from the trees being cut after the sap has fallen in the fall.

  • Beverly
    on Jan 3, 2015

    so if the goo is fungus on a dead wood, don't you have to wonder if the tree will die and fall and when?

  • Linda
    on Mar 1, 2015

    We have those quite often here in the South. It is a jelly like mold that is very squishy. My older brother used to call them 'Gooey Bears", lol It is so yucky when you reach to grab a branch and get a handful of that 'oook', yuk..... Harmless but repulsive.

Your comment...