Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ewww...Slime Flux

Sounds pretty gross, right.  Well, slime flux, aka bacterial wetwood, is rather common among the  elm, cottonwood, willow, ash, maple, birch, hickory, beech, oak, sycamore, cherry and yellow-poplar trees as the bacteria caused by slime flux causes wetwood. 
Bacterial wetwood/slime flux, is a major bole rot of trunk and branches of trees. Slime flux has been attributed to bacterial infection in the inner sapwood and outer heartwood area of the tree. The bacterial infection is normally associated with wounding or environmental stress. 

SYMPTOMS:  A tree with slime flux is water-soaked and "weeps" from visible wounds and even from healthy looking bark. The "weeping" may be a good thing as it is having a slow, natural draining effect on a bacterium that needs a dark, damp environment. A tree with this bole rot is trying its best to compartmentalize the damage.

This bacteria alters wood cell walls, causing moisture content of the wood to increase. One interesting thing is that the weeping liquid is fermented sap which is alchohol based and toxic to new wood.

CONTROL: Some experts say not to bore holes to drain the rotting wood as it will further spread the bacterium. There is some debate about this practice. Actually, nothing can stop further rot except the tree's ability to isolate the spot by growing good wood around the diseased portion.

Using an insecticide will not help prevent the rot going on inside. You do see secondary insects feeding on sap and the rotting remains but they do not affect the disease process. It is not thought they spread the infection. Don't waste your money spraying for insects.

Trees "R" Us, Inc. offers plant health care as well as a highly knowledgeable staff that includes 4 certified arborists.  When you choose Trees "R" Us, Inc. you can rest assured that you've made the right choice for your tree care, tree maintenance, and plant health care needs.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. services the North Shore and the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.  You can contact Trees "R" Us, Inc. via the web at www.treesrusinc.com or by phone at 847-913-9069.

Thanks for reading, 
Nick

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