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Conifer trees, Pitch or Sap?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Lumber-Jack, Mar 18, 2009.

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  1. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    A couple of times I have read in this forum people stating as some kind of fact that pitch is something that comes exclusively from conifer trees and sap only comes from deciduous trees.
    I say hogwash.
    I have never heard or read any evidence to back up this statement.
    In fact I have never heard anybody make such a claim before except the couple times in this forum.
    I only protest because I think forums like this should be helping people with useful and factual imformation, not for speading some homegrown myths.
    Conifers contain sap just like any other tree or plant.
    Pitch, in reference to trees, simply refers to the highly viscous or resinous state of some tree SAP (particularly conifers).
    If you disagree and can prove it somehow, I would like to see some sort of evidence. I'm quite willing to be edjumicated. :p

    Here is just a few government and educational references that refer to the SAP of conifer trees.

    http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hre/pubs/pubs/1015.htm
    Sap flow in old lodgepole pine trees.


    http://www.fsl.orst.edu/oldtree/dougfir.htm
    Photos of sap flow instrumentation, the top of a Douglas-fir tree.


    http://efotg.nrcs.usda.gov/references/public/WY/Bio_No_228.pdf
    "......Williams sapsuckers in Colarado fed exclusively on sap and phloem of live conifers."


    There are plenty of other links that refer to the SAP of conifers.
    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=conifer sap&btnG=Google Search&meta;=

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  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Don't be such a sap %-P
  3. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    I don't like the pitch you are taking with me. :lol:
  4. Abhoth

    Abhoth Member

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    So, sap = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sap

    See also, resin = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resin

    See also, pitch(resin) = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_(resin)

    My pitch is this, then I'll stop being a sap ... sap is the life-blood of a tree, that which nourishes. And pitch is that which the tree secretes, trees secrete pitch to protect-itself when it's wounded, be it an open wound or insect attack. I would think that 'pitch' has some 'sap' within it, yet used for a different purpose other than nourishment. All trees have sap and secrete resins(pitch)... but not like pine and spruce and a number of others, ask anyone who's picked up a split and couldn't let go of it!
  5. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Ummm. . . OK
  6. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    What in TARnation is all this about.
  7. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

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    Well then, you should start by finding those posts and threads, and informing them. Starting a new thread and stating your opinion - well backed up and I don't disagree with you - is unlikely to educate those mis-informed posters who seem unlikely to stumble across your new thread imho.
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    How dare they call it sap... or pitch.. or whatever
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I may have caused you to go on this mission on education. There was once a guy who only cut hardwoods and only ran across sap under the fresh bark. That guy asked about cutting confiers and I thought it would be good to inform him about the pitch which he will be encountering sticking to his hands, feet, tools, hootus, etc. which he likely has never seen before since only being exposed to sap from a deciduous tree. The conifer will also have sap under the bark of course. These two seperate tree biproducts both start out as sap but the finished product of pitch is quite different than sap.

    You can call it whatever you want. It's okay, really. I'm sure there is a regional slang involved.

    If I holler out, "dang it, my hootus is covered in pitch" then everyone knows that I have a sticky mess. If I make the same outburst about sap then people might think I was cutting green wood.
  10. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Actually Apprentice I don't think that is the right approach. Disrupting someone else's thread and using it to try and correct someone or argue some point that doesn't directly relate to the body of the thread is rude and inappropriate. Kind of what like some are doing in this thread.
    And don't worry, at least one of the mis-informed ones has found this thread already, but had nothing "informed" to say about the subject of the thread. That's ok, this thread here now and if I, if the subject comes up again it can be linked to in the future.
    >
    Hey Highbeam, thanks for the on topic reply, much appreciated. :)
    You are right, your post was what caused me to go on this "mission of education", but don't let it go to your head, or your hootus. LOL

    About, pitch coming from deciduous trees, I have encountered actual pitch on deciduous trees before, some fruit trees can produce a lot pitch on them, cherry trees come to mind. I remember as a kid sticking bugs in the little blobs of pitch on the bark of cherry trees in an attempt to produce amber.
  11. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    I may be a sap, but here is my pitch:

    All I know is that the gooey, resinious stuff in the PINE that I split a few weeks back, commonly refered to as "pitch" burns like oil. The pieces that are basically impregnated with this pitch light with one match, even tho' they are not fully seasoned (and smoke like an old man with a stinky cigar). If I try to do that with the green ash that oozed sap when I split it, it just sizzles and exinguishes the match (same w/ green pine from younger trees w/o as much, if any, pitch).

    Also, pitch, usually from pine or other conifiers, used to be used to seal boat decks, etc. before the advent of petro-products that are easier to produce to do the job.

    My understanding is that sap is mainly water and carbohydrates (sugars) ... as in sugar maple sap that gets made into maple syrup. Pitch contains the resins that highbeam refered to.

    The sap that oozed from the big pine rounds when I split them w/ the (rental) hydraulic splitter wasn't terrible sticky. The pitch that was in the same pine was incredibly stick.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  12. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Ok, here is some cherry wood. Is it pitch or sap?

    [​IMG]
  13. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    What the heck is a hootus? I thought I knew every slang term for every part of the body but that is a new one for me!
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Your hootus is exactly what you think it is..... google is your friend.

    That cherry tree stuff might be pitch, would have to touch it. If it is jelly-like I would call it sap but if it sticks to you like contact cement and you can't rub it off of your fingers then I would call it pitch. I get that on my fruit trees too.
  15. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    Take a blob off the tree
    Light it with a match ... if it lights and burns, it's pitch. If it extinguishes the match, it's sap.

    That's my opinion, FWIW.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
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