Today is cool and rainy and I noticed suds accumulating at the base of a tree. They seem to be oozing out of the tree (on one side only) and dripping down from a height of about four feet. There is some sort of lichen (?) growing on this side of the tree, but I don't see the same suds on nearby trees, some of which have the same lichen growing. Any idea what this is, and whether I need to take action?

Update: Today it's not raining and the "suds" are totally gone, so it was definitely something caused or made visible by the rain.

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  • Apologies if this is off-topic (it seemed to be considered gray area in meta.diy discussions.) – G__ Aug 23 '10 at 20:44
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    Do you know what kind of a tree this is? – Jared Harley Aug 24 '10 at 2:13
  • I think it's an oak, but the leaves are way out of reach and my tree ID skills are poor so take that with a grain of salt. – G__ Aug 24 '10 at 14:59
  • This question may be better suited for the Gardening and Landscaping site. – Doresoom Feb 10 '12 at 20:30

Could be spittlebugs...

  • It's definitely not a pine - would spittlebugs infect other trees? I didn't see any bugs, although that doesn't mean they weren't there... – G__ Aug 24 '10 at 15:36
  • I have no idea, I just did a Google search. :) Here's another page with some more info: en.allexperts.com/q/Plant-Diseases-715/2009/3/… – Mike Powell Aug 24 '10 at 15:42
  • It's weird that it's not an oak tree, but everything else seems to fit. – G__ Aug 24 '10 at 22:41

After a bit of Googling, the prevailing theory seems to be that the foam is from rainwater washing over impurities that have collected on the tree trunk. It forms a crude sort of soap and accumulates at the base of the tree.

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