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Sap Dripping From a Tree

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Sap Dripping From a Tree

Sap can begin dripping from a tree for a number of reasons, including bug infestations. To stop the flow you will need to determine the cause. This is a guide about sap dripping from a tree.



Here are questions related to Sap Dripping From a Tree.

Question: Pruned Maple Tree is Dripping Sap


I have a question. I have a Maple tree in my back yard, yesterday I trimmed some very small branches off the tree, when I say branches there were not much larger than twigs. Now the tree is dripping sap? Is this normal? I just hope I have not damaged the tree. Fortunately when I saw what was happening I stopped. Any help would be appreciated. I live just south of Carson City, Nevada

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Peg from Minden, Nevada


Hi Peg,

Don't worry about your tree. You haven't done any serious damage to it, but you were right to stop pruning once you noticed the sap starting to seep. Pruning wounds don't close as fast when sap is running. Sap flow this time of year is normal and hard to predict unless you're paying close attention to the weather. Here is a simplified version of what causes the sap inside maple trees to run'.

The tree sap that flows each spring was produced through photosynthesis the previous summer. Fluctuations in pressure inside the tree cause it to flow from the roots of the tree to its branches through an outer portion of the trunk called sapwood. Sap's function is to supply growing cells with nutrients. In the early spring, temperatures warm to above freezing during the day and usually fall back below freezing at night. The cellular activity that occurs in the sapwood during warm temperatures creates a build up of positive pressure inside the tree. This pressure is what forced sap to seep out of the wounds when you pruned your tree. Cool temperatures at night create the opposite effect-a negative pressure. The next day, when the temperatures warm up again, positive pressure is created and the sap starts to flow again. This whole "flow" process lasts around six weeks.

I remember the first time I walked out into my garden in the spring and saw one of my young sugar maples "bleeding" sap through several gashes on the trunk. I couldn't imagine who had it out for my trees. It turned out the gashes up and down the trunk were actually teeth marks. Squirrels love the stuff and know exactly when to pierce the bark for a delicious treat. Maple trees can be lightly pruned (removing a few small branches) anytime during the year, but it's a good idea to avoid doing it in the spring. Heavier pruning is best left to late winter or very early spring.



Most Recent Answer

By Peg (Guest Post)03/18/2008

Thanks Margaret for answering my question. I appreciate you taking the time to do it, it was helpful.

Question: Oak Tree Leaking Sap

My oak tree is leaking sap at the bottom and it's attracting bees and flies. How can I stop it?

By Cathy


Most Recent Answer

By Cisco's Mom [5]08/05/2013

Oh my gosh, you are so lucky to have only one oak tree leaking and at the bottom. All of the oak trees (live oaks with Spanish moss) in my neighborhood are dripping sap. Our patios, furniture, cars are covered. My husband has to wash the car daily so we can see when we drive. If we walk outside, drops land in our hair and clothes. We are told it is aphids and there is no remedy until they move on. I will follow your answer and hope someone has a cure for both of us.

Question: How do I stop a pine tree from dripping sap?


How do I stop a pine tree from dripping sap?

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Isap from New York, NY



Short of cutting it down, which I don't recommend, you can't stop a pine tree (or any species of tree) from dripping sap. Several internal and external forces, including internal water levels, time of the year, air temperature, disease and physical damage suffered by the tree, regulate sap flow in trees. Sap flow is simply the tree response to any one of a number of natural processes. If the sap is seeping from an area that was recently pruned, it will stop eventually. If the needles or tops of the tree look brown, dripping sap may be a sign that the tree is in trouble. I would suggest calling in a professional arborist to diagnose the problem.

If sap is dripping onto your car, I've heard of people using mayonnaise or butter to dissolve sap on car paint without hurting the finish. I can't swear that it works because I've never personally tried it. Still, it might be worth researching.


By Ellen Brown

Most Recent Answer

By thrifty 50 (Guest Post)10/21/2006

Cut it down. Sorry to say it seems to be the only way I know. Your extension or farm agent tied up with your state could give you a professional answer or correct mine if I am wrong.

Question: Palo Verde Dripping Sap

We pruned our palo verde and it's dripping sap from the wound. What do we put on it to stop the dripping?

By Sheri E.

Question: Cause of Sap Dripping from My Fir Tree

I have a 60 foot fir tree that is dripping a lot of sap. What is causing this?

By Lino

Question: Maple Tree Dripping Sap

We have a beautiful maple tree in our front yard. It is about 15 years old and the past two years we have sap dripping all over our yard from the tree. When we sit under it, we actually get sticky! Is there anything we can do about it?

By Judy H.

Question: Getting Tree Trunk To Stop Seeping

I have a big maple tree in my front yard and from spring through summer it seeps sap everywhere. It makes a mess of my car and my neighbor's cars. Would tapping it in the spring reduce the amount of sap that seeps?

By Lori from Toledo, OH

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