Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This is odd...so I'm putting around the yard last night, and I hear dripping. Steady dripping, but no rain clouds...so I look at the ground and find this wet spot amongst the branches left from tree trimming last fall.The drips are coming from this birch that was severely pruned (okay, decapitated). A closer look...you can see where sap has apparently been dripping down the side of the trunk...

...even closer look...you can even see droplets falling....what's going on here? Is the tree crying over "losing it's head"? The wound was painted when the cut was made...do you think the tree will survive?


chuck b. said...


lisa said...

Gezundheit! Oh...is that a tree disease?

lisa said...

Did a lookup...sounds plausible, and the prunings lying around my yard are said to contribute to the problem. Bummer.

JLB said...

Greetings Lisa,

While of course I cannot say for certain without looking at your tree, I would have to say that your tree is going to be ok.

The reason you are likely seeing sap "weep" now, is because of what trees (particularly deciduous trees) do every spring.

When spring warms the earth, deciduous trees begin to carry stored nutrients up from the roots and through the trunk of the tree along with the freshly-available spring waters. The sugars, water, and nutrients help to feed the buds that have been sleeping all winter.

Those buds burst out with a fresh set of leaves and blossoms for the year's growth, drawing up lots of water and food in a very short amount of time to push all those leaves out as fast as possible. (Deciduous trees have special cells and cell structures that help them do this).

In the case of the new cuts on your tree, that water and sugar is simply leaking out of the cells where it would normally travel to feed the former branches. You said that you made these cuts last autumn, so I would expect that in a few years time, those cells will slowly close off and the tree will no longer weep from those places.

As a side note, this phenomenon is what gives us maple syrup each spring - the sap rises up through the maple trees, which are tapped or cut (sort of like your tree here) so the sap will weep, and then that sap is collected and used to make maple sugar products.

I hope all is well with your tree, and that it survives as hoped.

Good luck!

lisa said...

Thanks so much JLB for the speedy reply!! I'm relieved...I like this tree, and we trimmed it so severely to keep it from falling over, as it was leaning pretty hard. Good explanation, too....I've heard of "birch syrup" -now I see how easy it would be to get that much sap!