Elm Sap killing grass

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Total Lawn Care, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Total Lawn Care

    Total Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 11

    Are any of you familiar with elm sap dripping from a wound or branch removal onto the lawn and killing the grass?
    Is there anything that can be applied to those spots or areas that any of you have used in the past to remedy this situation?
  2. br549oicu8

    br549oicu8 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,230

    That is called slime flux. This is a disease common especially common to the Siberian Elm. You can't stop the drainage but you can manage it.
    There is no cure for the heartwood infection that is common in elms, cottonwoods, and other poplar species. Drilling a hole in the infected area and inserting a plastic pipe to drain off the ooze can relieve the internal pressure. This prevents the unsightly slime from running down the trunk or killing the grass, but does not eliminate the infection.
    Bark/cambial infections frequently result in death of the tree within 1-2 years. In willow, the bacteria tend to be limited to the tissue between the outer bark and the wood called the cambium. Fermentation produces the offensive odor and slime, but attempting to alleviate the problem by inserting a tube does not relieve the problem. If the fluxing is noted soon enough, the tree can be saved. Waiting and hoping the problem will correct itself often results in a dead tree.

    Trees suffering from bark/cambial infections may be saved by promptly cutting away diseased tissue. On small branches it is best to prune the infected branch off at a lateral. With larger branches or trunk infections, remove all discolored bark down to the wood. Cut around the infected trunk or branch until you come to healthy, yellow-green cambium. In some cases this means removing a lot of bark. If the infection encompasses more than half of the trunk, it is probably best to treat with a chain saw at ground level and start over again with a less susceptible tree.

    The next step consists of shaping the wound to allow it to heal properly. Remove infected bark creating an oval shape. The long part of the oval should be parallel with the trunk or limb. Make the margins of the cut smooth and clean. Sterilize the knife with rubbing alcohol between cuts to prevent spread of the bacteria.

    The final step involved cleaning the wound with a disinfectant such as rubbing alcohol or a 10% solution of bleach (1 part household bleach and 9 parts water). Watch the treated area for evidence of recurring disease activity. If tissue on the edge of the wound begins to flux, a spot of diseased tissue may have been missed.

    Good luck.

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