Looks like water drops, but it's some clear (maybe sticky) ooze

ilikewinterJune 3, 2008

I noticed a few weeks ago that my peach tree had these little clear "drops" that looked like water drops at the base of their leaves. A few days ago I spotted some thrips, and today I noticed that when I handled the tree, it was sticky. I don't know if they are all related. I tried to have the thrips ID'd at bugguide.net, but only got an unsure response that it looked like a predatory thrip- not sure. Anyway, I thought the drops were just on my peach, but today I noticed one on a maturing raspberry fruit in close proximity. i also saw one on the peach that was not at the base, but on a leaf. Other than that, they are all at the base of the leaves.

All my plants are young (got them this year) and I am growing them in containers on my balcony.

Does anyone have any idea if all these things are related, or what type of thrips like peach trees (mine was black with three white bands across the thorax (?) area- there were also completely brown thrips that were smaller on the same tree, perhaps an adolescent of the black one?) and if I need to be concerned, and, lastly, what could be causing the stickiness? No aphids spotted!

Thanks!

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Besides aphids the only insect I've seen that causes stickness is scale. Thrips don't seem the likely culprit. In fact if the drops are all at the base of the leaf that doesn't sound like an insect at all. Rather something with the plant itself.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 12:10PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

Some plants will exude drops of water from their leaves when there is a lot of water available to them. This is called guttation. I've never noticed these drops to be sticky, but a quick google search indicates they can contain sugars. Do you see the drops the day after watering the tree?

Alex

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 12:05AM
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ilikewinter

Thanks for the follow-ups. Alex, they are there all the time. I tried searching it on google, but was unable to find anything previous to my first post- I will look up "guttation" and see what I can learn about it.

I don't see any aphids on the peach tree, but it is definitely sticky. I don't notice any damage to the young leaves, but I do have (perhaps from a caterpillar?) holes chewed in the leaves and bites otherwise taken out. This is my first time growing fruit trees, so I'm not really sure what the leaves on a peach should look like- they are generally folded together until they get larger and then unfurl and they have an arc shape to them (the spine arcs). Is this normal?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 11:50AM
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Michael

Hey alexander3, did you ever take any horticulture classes? I haven't heard or seen anyone use the term guttation for years! By the way, I agree. Now for the bonus question: under what conditions are guttation more likely to occur in a plant?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 10:43PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

No horticulture classes under my belt....in high school I had a banana tree in a pot, and it always had drops of water coming out of the leaves the day after I watered it. Somehow (this was before the modern day internet!) I learned the term guttation.

Certainly there needs to be plenty of water available, and it would help if the stomata were closed (like at night), so there's no other easy path for water loss... ....so I guess if it rains in the late afternoon or evening so the plant can soak up water all night, but not lose any moisture through transpiration, guttation is likely to occur. Do I win?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 11:10PM
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ilikewinter

Well... that may be so, but... it doesn't match my conditions here too well. I'm really concerned with why the tree is all sticky! No aphids, and no scale that I can see- only thrips and perhaps a caterpillar (judging on the holes in the leaves). It's just a little peach tree- in a container on my balcony, just got it this year, so I should be able to spot aphids or scale if they were there, right?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:16AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Scale will be on the stems and are not nearly as easy to spot as aphids. They can be many different colors, sizes, and shapes. All of which change as they grow. I had them on my trees in my greenhouse for a year before I figured out what was causing the occasional sticky area on the trees. I noticed the stickiness on the leaves. But it was only there because it dripped off the scale on the small twigs. I sprayed once with Malathion and got nearly 100% control. Next winter I'll spray dormant oil. This is the first scale I've seen on my fruit trees in 40 yrs at this hobby.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:20PM
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joebok

Does it look like this?

If so, I've been told it is oriental fruit moth

Here is a link that might be useful: sap dripping from peaches

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 11:30PM
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Michael

By jove alexander3, I think you've got a keen sense of observation. The main conditions are an ample supply of available moisture to the roots and high humidity. The stomata close leading to high pressures in the root. It is commonly seen in grasses. Grasses fertilized with ammonium salts may exude a white crystaline material containing high amounts of glutamine on their leaf tips.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 12:05AM
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