I want to start off by saying that winter is not the best time to be collecting pine pitch, but it is the best time to learn knew things you can try when spring comes back around. During this time of physical rest I believe is the best time to mentally workout.
FUN FACT: Amber is petrified tree resin.
You can find pine pitch online with the help of a simple web search, but if you are surrounded by Pine trees as I am, why not get out and enjoy nature? If you are buying pine sap or resin, make sure it is real. There are synthetic resins and the like out there, which you do not want.
You can scrape off the pitch from knotholes and damaged places on the tree, or cut notches in the tree and come back after the sap has had time to seep out. Pitch is sap that has had the turpentine and water content reduced by evaporation. Hard resin has even less of the two.
The warmer the weather, the better tree sap flows. Sap rises at the full moon as well, so a warm day around the full moon would be the most productive time.
Don’t ever cut around the entire circumference of the tree, or you will kill it.
~No one likes tree murderers.~
In all actuality, it is best to collect pitch that has pooled naturally, rather than resorting to intentionally hurting the tree to get the pitch. Survival situations call for extreme measures though, so I want you to know there is something you can do if you had to get pitch, which of course is useful for more than just making candles.
In dire situations, cut a V shape into the side of the tree, not too wide though. Longer, thinner cuts will work just like wider, shorter cuts. Place a piece of metal or something that will allow the sap to flow into your collection container at the bottom of the cut, and attach a metal bucket, or even a plastic bag under it to allow the sap to run into.
Never take more than half the pitch from the tree. You want to leave some behind so the tree still has the protection it has spent energy making for itself. Don’t be a jerk.
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This post is part of a series on Pine Trees. The other posts can be found below:
Pine Needle Tea & Medicine
Pining For You
Pine Tar Salve DIY
Pine Pitch Candles
Pine Needle Oxymel
Infused Cleaning Vinegar
Identifying Pine Trees
All About That Pine Bark