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Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

Posted by evelyn54 New York (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 12, 10 at 10:06

I have a 100-year-old oak tree that has never seemed ill or diseased. Today all over my garden in the vicinity of the tree I see big droplets of sweet liquid. It is the consistency and color of very light maple syrup, and is quite sticky.

I can't see where it might be coming from, but the droplets cover an area approximately 40' x 50'.

I'd appreciate any advice on how to determine if there is a problem I need to attend to.

Thank you!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

How do you know the liquid is sweet?


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

  • Posted by hortster 6A, southcentral KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 12, 10 at 22:48

Scales and aphids secrete "honeydew" that smears windshields and makes surfaces sticky. I think that is what taz6122 is wondering about. It is not the tree, but its advantageous insects that create this situation. More likely scale insects on an oak.
hortster


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

I suspect this will be a banner year for this sort of thing, esp aphids and scale.

Dan


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

I think taz was wondering if evelyn tasted this stuff! I was wondering the same thing, lol. Darn it all, I've NEVER been able to talk one of my students into tasting honeydew.


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

Huh. Never thought of that. I'll have some tweens out in the woods soon looking at trees, maybe I'll see if I can get them to do it if we find some.

Dan


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

That's exactly what I was wondering! How would you know without tasting it?


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

Dan, I'll bet the tweens might be 'brave' enough. My students were all adults and waaayy too chicken.


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

Oh, I'm embarrassed now -- I did taste just a little of it! My dad was an amateur naturalist and used taste as part of his identification system for most plants. He assured me (though I should know better now!) that a little taste of most things couldn't hurt you, even if they were poisonous.... Despite knowing better, my immediate thought on seeing these drops was to taste a little! But, more importantly, if this is caused by aphids or scale, it won't hurt the tree, will it? Thanks for your answers.


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RE: Mysterious drops of sweet liquid near oak tree

Evelyn, don't feel bad - I'm a volunteer naturalist and our groups' faces are always in something, smelling, touching. The tree likely is having a difficult year this year and the critters are taking advantage. One year and the tree hardly notices (or so they tell me when my face is next to them and I ask them ;o) ).

Dan


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