Thursday, November 4, 2010

Amber Tree

I don’t know if you would consider this a strong tree because it has managed to survive for so long in a blighted condition, or a weak tree because it failed to remain healthy. Which ever you choose, it’s certainly an interesting tree.

From the look of the crooked trunk, it certainly fits in with the rest of the trees at Blue Jay Barrens. This is a Wild Black Cherry. The very top of the tree seems perfectly healthy, but the trunk is far from being in good shape.

Various cankers, sores, bulges and cracks mar the oddly shaped trunk. Globs of golden sap flow out to harden on the loose bark. Not a very pretty sight.

That is, it’s not a very pretty sight until you get close. Sunlight showing through the hardening sap presents the unmistakable image of amber. Well, at least there’s the color and look of amber. Given time and the right conditions, it could become amber in the future.

Insect infestations and fungus infections are the two primary causes of sap flow such as this. Both of those agents may be present here, but I found clear evidence of a borer at work in this tree. The reddish brown grains on the bark and sticking to the sap are fras deposited by feeding insects. I know that the Peach Tree Borer, a moth larva, causes this type of damage to cherry trees, but I’ve never seen that borer attack such a large area of the tree trunk.

Each amber nodule has the consistency of thick gum with a hard exterior coating like a fine glass sheet. Manipulation of the sap causes the coating to develop a spider web of cracks that completely ruin the beauty of the object. I ruined one in my investigations, but left the rest alone.

There are still a couple sections of unaffected trunk. I’ll have to watch in later years to see if the borers move into these areas. Maybe the tree is diseased in a way that signals the borers to lay eggs here, or it could be that the presence of borer activity attracts more borers. My experience with Peach Tree Borers has been limited to ornamental plantings that usually got cut down after they became infested, so maybe those trees would have looked like this one if left in place. Another possibility is that I don’t know what I’m talking about and this damage wasn’t caused by Peach Tree Borers and I’d better just move on before I get into real trouble.

I found it interesting that a neighboring elm put a root up and over the exposed root of the cherry. Perhaps it was just reaching out a sympathetic root to comfort an ailing neighbor.


  1. Another interesting post. I agree the "amber" is quite pretty. So sad it is a sign of disease, though. Thanks for a smile this morning. :)

  2. Hi Steve ...creatures of the black lagoon!!!!
    I have a cherry tree out back looks like that interesting to know what causes is quite pretty though!!
    The radar map is showing a snow rain mix just about reaching where Renee lives and heading my way...and my old lawn tractor who I fondly can "tin lizzy" is out there with the battery charger on it with a wagon full of stuff for the mulch pile. I hope it starts soon or I'll have to dig out a pair of tire chains LOL : }

  3. You're welcome, Lois. I like to give out smiles whenever I can.

    Hi, grammie g. I hope Lizzy started and you got your work done before the wet weather got to you. We had snow/rain predicted for tomorrow, but it looks like it's just going to be rain now. I'm not ready for snow.

  4. We had a similar condition, called "Plum Borer", in our plum tree in our home orchard. It killed the tree next to it, and our last plum tree looked like it was going to be the next victim.

    Fortunately, a homeopathic agricultural expert, V. Das Kaviraj was visiting my home orchard and suggested homeopathic phosphoric acid as a treatment to dripped over the tree's drip line.

    We only did this safe and natural treatment once and within a month, the gummy sap-like discharge completely dried up and healed. That was last year. This year it made a great comeback - it now has healthy plums on it! I was quite amazed and thankful for Kaviraj's expertise. (Our tree arborist says that she is not aware of any conventional chemical treatments which ever have been effective in this disease, in her experience.)

    You can buy his new book from Narayana Publishers called "Homeopathy for Farm and Garden: The Homeopathic Treatment of Plants."

    We bought a 4 ounce bottle of Boiron Homeopathic Phosphoric Acid (6C Solution) and it only takes 10 drops. You add 10 drops of homeopathic phosphoric acid to 1 liter of pure distilled drinking water and shake it vigorously 50 times in a glass bottle (we used a clean wine bottle). Then, you take this 1 liter of solution and put it in a 5 gallon plastic bucket, and fill the bucket vigorously with tap water, to the top. You then take the 5 gallons and pour the entire contents over the fruit tree's "dripline" area. One treatment is all you need.

    For this to work, it has to be a tree which is really leaking gummy sap profusely. (Note: Homeopathic phosphoric acid is used for very weak, sick people who have diseases associated with marked fluid losses, such as blood loss, dehydration, etc.)

    Hope this info can be of service!
    Bob S. - Chicago, IL

  5. Thanks Bob. I'll check out that book.