An annoying thing about landscape trees is that they can drip sap, although some species are worse about this than others. Sap leads to a sticky mess that can ruin paint and look bad on sidewalks. Further, too much sap seepage from a tree can make it more susceptible to diseases and pests as they are drawn to the wound the sap leaks from. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize sap.
1. Proper Timing
One of the best ways to minimize sap production is to prune your trees during the right season. For most trees, the ideal time is near the end of winter when the trees are still dormant. Try and schedule winter pruning before the thaw in early spring, when a string of warm days can lead to sap flow. If you can't have the trees pruned before they begin to break dormancy in spring, then wait to prune until late summer or early fall when sap production has once again begun to slow.
2. Damage Removal
Sap leaks from damaged wood, so if there are broken, diseased, or otherwise damaged branches then sap may drip from them. Properly trimming out damage may not eliminate sap production depending on the season, but it may reduce it since healthy wood often does not drip as much sap compared to wood that is trying to recover from an injury.
3. Tool Maintenance
Proper care and use of trimming tools may reduce sap flow. Dull saws and clippers will crush or chew up wood instead of making a clean cut, and rough cuts are much more likely to lead to sap flow over a greater area. A tree can seal a pruning wound more quickly if it is small and clean, so good tool maintenance is a must.
4. Tree Sealants
Tree sealants aren't always recommended, as they can slow healing for some types of trees. If heavy sap flow is an issue though, such as when a large branch must be cut off a naturally sappy tree like a maple, then it may make sense to paint over the trimming wound with a sealant. The sealant helps slow sap seepage and protects the cut area until the tree can heal.
5. Pest Treatments
One overlooked source of sap is plant pests. Not only will feeding and boring into the tree produce sap, but some pests, like aphids, also produce their own sticky sap-like substance. Your tree service can help you treat any pests or diseases that are causing the problem so that your tree will quit dripping sticky stuff everywhere.
Contact a tree trimming service for more help maintaining the sappy trees in your yard.