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How to stop tree sap

Updated February 21, 2017

Under normal circumstances, trees drip sap as a way of protecting themselves when their bark has been damaged. If a tree is dripping sap, it is best to leave it alone unless it is an oak in the spring or an elm throughout the growing season. Disrupting the natural healing process of a tree can sometimes cause more damage. Oaks and elms are particularly vulnerable to pathogens, however, and you should seal them when sap is dripping because of weather damage or pruning. It is important to seal the damaged area of the tree as soon as you notice it in order to protect the tree from pathogens.

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  1. Locate and identify the source of the dripping sap on the tree. Look for exposed wood where the bark has been torn off, broken or freshly pruned tree branches.

  2. Shear off any damaged or broken limbs close the main boot at a 45-degree angle using pruning shears so that the cut is sloping downward. This will promote water drainage off from the cut.

  3. Apply an even coat tree pruning sealant over the entire area of exposed wood on the tree where the sap is dripping. The sealant will immediately seal the wood and protect it.

  4. Tip

    Use sharp pruning tools and follow pruning guidelines carefully to keep your trees healthy.


    Wear work gloves.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tree pruning sealant
  • Paint can opener
  • Pruning shears
  • Paintbrush

About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.

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