Many homeowners complain during the warmer months of trees dripping "sap." Unfortunately, its probably not sap. Sap is likely to drip only after the tree has been cut. Typically, evergreens and mulberry trees are the worst offenders for dripping sap after cutting or pruning. The glue-like liquid of which many many Sacramento-area homeowners complain is a sugary water substance produced by insects. The excreta is called honeydew and the insects are aphids. Aphids can weaken trees and make them more susceptible to disease but it is the summer production of honeydew that makes them such a destructive pest. Honeydew can destroy car paint, discolor sidewalks, stain fabric, and attach to shoes and outerwear. Afflicted trees are easily spotted from a distance because they will appear to have wet shiny leaves during the dry summer months.
The cure for aphids is a licensed chemical application injected into the earth around the tree. February and March are the best time of year for application. In the event the homeowner misses the window for routine treatment, a licensed applicator can treat for aphids by using an additional treatment that accelerates the tree's absorption of the preventative. In those case, results can be seen within 7-10 days. The earlier treatment protocol is naturally a bit less expensive.
Consumers should be aware that argi-chemical treatments require a specially licensed applicator. The possession of the necessary aphid chemical treatments are restricted by law. Regrettably, many vendors skirt the law by using either colored water or hardware store insecticides. Verify that your applicator is licensed to dispense treatments.
Stacy W. Barker
Stacy is the owner of Bud's