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Sap Dripping From a Tree

Category Tree Health
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.
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April 24, 2008

Question:

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

Answer:

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'.

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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.

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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.

Ellen

Answers

March 18, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi Peg...This is another Margaret (Goatlady) from Vermont, Maple Syrup Capitol of the World! This time of year, many folks here are tapping the maple trees to get sap to make syrup. They punch several holes in larger maple trees, insert a spout and collect the sap in one of several types of collecting buckets. Then they boil the syrup in special outdoor houses called "Sugar Houses" until it thickens and becomes syrup.

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It usually takes about 30 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. So I think your tree is just putting out sap, as all tapped maples do in the Spring, but as soon as the weather warms up, it will stop. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of the weather in Nevada and/or maple trees will not agree with my advice, but that's what I think as a Vermonter. Margaret

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October 11, 20060 found this helpful

Question:

How do I stop a pine tree from dripping sap?

Hardiness Zone: 6b

Isap from New York, NY

Answer:

Isap,

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.

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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.

Ellen

Answers

By thrifty 50 (Guest Post)
October 21, 20060 found this helpful

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.

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August 23, 20160 found this helpful

I saw a video the other day. Several products were tried, to no avail. Mayo didn't do it, goof off WD 40. Believe it or not Hand sanitizer worked like a charm, I did wax my Mustang after removing the sap I was freaking out because after a bad storm, it was all over my almost new car.

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Sanitizer, go figure.

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October 9, 20160 found this helpful

I also have a tree that drips sap and brown watery spots on my car,can't afford to cut it down so I got a car cover for my car,it is a pain to put no and take off but at least it keeps the sap and other things off my new car.

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October 9, 20160 found this helpful

Be careful hand sanitizer has alcohol in it and could hurt your paint job

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April 25, 20170 found this helpful

I have this problem on my car; pine resin dripped on the paintwork.
I used acetone to remove it (it's the same stuff that's in nail varnish remover) I'm not that worried about my paintwork and in my experience, there was no visible damage. Test on a hidden patch of paint before you use on the resin.

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By 0 found this helpful
May 18, 2015

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.

Answers

May 19, 20150 found this helpful

Something has attacked your tree and is drilling or eating (possibly very tiny) holes in it. If you care a lot about this tree you might want to think about consulting an arborist as soon as possible. It may need to be sprayed with something.

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May 20, 20150 found this helpful

Yeah, you've probably got some type of beetle, or perhaps birds like sapsuckers or woodpeckers.

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May 27, 20150 found this helpful

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!
Catherine

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By 0 found this helpful
May 6, 2016

I have a black olive tree in my front yard. The tree is oozing black sap down two large branches and there is one oval spot on the main top portion of the tree (about 5' up) that dripping black sap onto the trunk. I'm in a condo association and the tree is owned by the association. I had two board members look at it today and they said that leaking sap in the spring is a natural spring event.

Well, I have lived in this condo since 2004 and I've never seen sap oozing from any of the 60 or so black olives trees in our association. I think the tree is dying and I do not want it falling on my unit. I'm in south Florida and hurricane season is just a month away, I'm thinking it should be OK this year, but it should be cut down before next year's hurricane season, as I believe that after losing sap for a year and a half, it just might come down in a hurricane or tropical storm.

P.S. the black olive tree is the worst tree on earth! It drops leaves heavily for 3 1/2 months and a saw dust substance for another 3 months. I have to wash my car 3 to 4 timers a week. The stuff stains my car, the road, and awnings. I think the tree needs to be cut down. What is your answer? Advise please.
Thank You!

Answers

June 1, 20160 found this helpful

Before you decide to cut the tree down, make sure sap actually does run out all season. I am not familiar with olive trees, but I believe olive trees normally grow in dry climates. The leaf fall might be related to high water levels depending on what part of Florida you are in. For most trees, a prolonged leaf fall relates to an inadequate supply of water, or an adequate water supply but a condition that makes it difficult for the tree to move water from the rooting area to the canopy, such as root strangulation. There are other possibilities. If the tree is sick, take a swab of the sap, and see if it stinks. I may be able to help with more possibilities, with more info, and perhaps pics.
It is possible the "sawdust " you describe could be from insects, or something from the tree.

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June 2, 20160 found this helpful

I feel like you just hate this tree and are looking for an excuse to have it cut down. The condo board would probably call in a tree expert to look at it. If they don't, you may have to, but be prepared to accept what the expert says.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 24, 2015

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.

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August 25, 20150 found this helpful

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

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Anonymous
March 19, 20160 found this helpful

Could be bugs. In my location I would take a small branch to the CSU Ag school extension to ID problem. $3 or $7 for the svc.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 15, 2015

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?

Answers

November 11, 20170 found this helpful

I'm not sure which is the cause but, if you are observant, you can find out quickly. Here are some possibilities:

  • Too much pruning
  • Birds or other animals pecking and injuring it.
  • Disease.
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August 1, 20130 found this helpful

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

By Cathy

Answers

August 5, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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January 28, 20150 found this helpful

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.

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July 25, 20130 found this helpful

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

By Lino

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June 27, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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December 26, 20120 found this helpful

We recently cut branches from pine trees as they were hanging too close to the house. Now they continually drip sap and have been dripping for 3 months, how can we stop this? The branches are high and hard to get at, this dripping is right at the front door of the house. Please help.

By Barry

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By 0 found this helpful
May 13, 2010

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 DuBell from Toledo, OH

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