Why Is There Slime On My Tree?


Have you noticed any kind of watery or slimy substance coming out of your trees in Lawrenceville, Ga? This is typically identified as bacterial wetwood or slime flux. The primary host for this type of bacteria are the most popular elm trees used in neighborhoods and business complexes. However, this disease has been known to affect a range of other species including hickory, birch, sycamore, cherry, ash, willow, maple, etc.

Causes of Infection

There are a number of different reasons this disease could infect your once healthy trees in Lawrenceville, including simple environmental stress factors. It is primarily caused by a bacterial infection in the inner sapwood and the outer heartwood of the tree. Any type of wound or injury to the tree can cause an infection, as this opens the tree up for disease to enter. Improper planting is another cause, where soil compaction could be a potential issue due to heavy traffic around the tree.

Symptoms of Bacterial Wetwood (Slime Flux)

  • Constant pungent odors

  • Bleeding cankers around the base

  • Water soaked patches on the tree

  • Slimy substance weeping down the tree


Unfortunately, at this time, there are no solid measures that we can take to remove the bacteria other than tall-tale home remedies and better management practices. Here are a few different things to try:

  • Making sure to prune back all dead or dying branches to prevent the tree from wasting energy.

  • Make sure the soil around the base is good and has not become compacted.

  • Water the tree on a regular schedule while it is under stress from the bacteria.

  • Try home remedies such as dish soap & small amounts of alcohol to disinfect the tree and keep it clean.

A lot of homeowners will notice the pests starting to get around the slime and think, “oh, better get some pesticides to treat the infestation”. We do not recommend doing this at all, as it can potentially damage the tree further. The best thing to do for the trees that have been infected is to keep them clean, and keep them maintained. Some homeowners swear by the dish soap method of cleaning the slim flux off the tree. Simply by using dish soap and water to clean the slime off every couple of days, it acts as a block to the bacteria. Most of the time, the healthy trees will be able to grow new wood around the diseased portion of the tree. Before you take any measures in Lawrenceville, make sure to consult with an Arborist first, to properly identify and diagnose the tree before moving forward with a treatment plan.

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North American Tree Service