Pruning Trees with Sap

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Some homeowners may experience maple trees that leak sap after they get pruned. You may wonder if it is okay for the tree or not, or if the tree can be pruned again. Each tree does not need to be pruned every year. If the tree is young, it may need to be pruned to shape good posture for the tree’s health. If the tree is old, it may not need extra pruning, except for getting rid of dead branches.

The sap in the tree starts to rise with warming temperatures in late winter to early spring. The sap delivers water and nutrients to the new buds so they can be ready for spring. That’s why many types of trees often release sap when they are pruned in late winter or early spring, before the leaves have fully developed. Sap is mostly water with some minerals. It can travel upwards through the xylem due to the root water pressure, and is more powerful in the spring than any other season. If the trees limbs are bigger than 3 inches in diameter, it can cause sap loss issues in the spring. Sap loss is not a big problem for the tree’s health, but when sap runs down a trunk or limb, it may attract disease, fungi and harmful insects which eat sweet ingredients in the sap. There is no actual method to stop the run of sap from a tree wound, and bleeding is absolutely harmless in most cases. We, Royal Tree LLC recommend not binding or wrapping the bleeding cuts, but to rather allow them to heal naturally, exposed.

The best time to prune these sappy trees is after the leaves have been hard and dark green in early summer. The sap will still come out, but it does not dry up the tree with a lack of water and sugar. However, it is not good to prune these trees in late summer, because the unhealed cuts through the fall and winter will start to bleed as soon as spring comes.

These are the prolific sap runner trees: Birches, Black locust, Chinese wingnut, Dogwoods, Elms, European hornbeam, Honey locust, Maples, Magnolias, Walnut, Poplars, Willow, and Sumacs.

If you have any inquiries, please give Royal Tree a call at 303.437.0525. We can go anywhere in Denver, Golden, Westminster, Lakewood, Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, Parker, Greenwood Village and Boulder to help with your trees.

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