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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 Is Dripping Sap

I have a 70 foot white oak tree that is dripping sap all over my deck. Does this mean the tree is dying? Is there something wrong with it? I have never had this happen from this oak before. When will it stop?
Thank you for your help.

    By Susan H. [1]


    Most Recent Answer

    By Catherine [7]05/27/2015

    I think you should first check if the liquid falling from your oak tree is sticky or not, if it is sticky it could come from aphids, check if you can see many ants climbing along the tree trunk. If it is not sticky it could be only water. In a hot summer an adult oak tree can sweat up to 500 liters of water per day. In the morning you can see the little drops of water at the end of the leaves. I think you should check using binoculars because it would be a pity to treat the tree if it is just a natural phenomena.

    Aphids are not a threat for an oak tree but you could try growing plants that attracts ladybugs next to your oak tree and protecting the green or brown stink bugs in your garden. Ladybugs are good predators of aphyds but they can fly far away from your garden when stink bugs don't fly so far.
    Hope this helps!

    Question: Pine Tree Dripping Sap from Needles

    I have a pine tree and it is dripping sap from all of its needles, all over the tree. It is a big tree and it has never done this before. Thanx.

      By mixer_92071 [1]

      Most Recent Answer

      By mixer_92071 [1]08/25/2015

      Oops, I just read what I wrote and saw that I didn't ask a question. So, question is, why is the tree doing this, and what do I do to help it? Thanx

      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: 30 Year Old Maple Tree Dripping Sap

      We have had a beautiful red maple tree outside our kitchen window for over 30 years. This is the first year we have had trouble with sap. The leaves are dripping sap all over everything and making a sticky mess. Why is this only just now happening? Is is time to cut the tree down?

        By Mary W. N. [1]

        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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