Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - November 11, 2004

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Bacterial wetwood disease in ash tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an Ash tree in my front yard. It's about 25 - 30 years old. About 2 months ago, it began to ooze sap from a point where a limb had been pruned, I'd say, about 15 - 20 years ago. So this cut was healed and ok. So the sap is running, it's clear and bubbly. It is surrounded by moths, bees and flies!! When I come home from work, it is hissing. Really, my tree hisses. My son figures it's posessed. My question to you is: what's happening here?!?!?! Is this normal? Any advice is welcome.

ANSWER:

A possessed tree, eh? Just in time for Halloween!
I can't be sure but it sounds as if your tree has "bacterial wetwood" disease. This sounds dire, but actually it is not particularly serious. The University of Illinois Extension gives a description of the disease and recommendations for treatment. Colorado State University also has web page information about wetwood disease. In neither of these articles do they mention that the trees "hiss" but they do mention gases produced by the disease that certainly could produce a hissing noise escaping from the tree.
 

More Trees Questions

Norway Pine vs. Norway Spruce
April 28, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is a Norway Pine the same species of tree as a Norway Spruce?
view the full question and answer

Conditions for growing Prunus mexicana
March 23, 2007 - Will a native Wild Plum do well in the Cat Spring area west of Houston. The soil is quite sandy. I was told that the plum trees attract deer.
view the full question and answer

Removal of live oaks leaves on lawn in Austin
October 11, 2011 - We have about a half inch or so of mostly live oak leaves still on the ground which I thought was good root protection and also holds in moisture. There is a small group of people in our condo subdi...
view the full question and answer

Possible woodpecker damage in Monterrey Oaks
November 17, 2006 - I live in NW Austin and have two Monterey Oak trees, each about 30 - 45 gal in size. They both were planted approximately 9 months ago. Both trees seem to have some cracking bark on the trunk along w...
view the full question and answer

Xeriscaping in clay on a slope in Fort Worth
April 06, 2006 - Xeriscaping in clay (Fort Worth) on a slope -- Please offer suggestions and publications. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.