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Wetwood (a.k.a. Slime Flux)

Infects

Occurs in a variety of trees, especially Elm and Poplar trees

Symptoms

Affected foliage at the top of trees sometimes wilts. Twigs and branch tips may also die. The dead, water-soaked wood contains a large number of bacteria which discolour the wood and make it smell sour or rancid.

Sometimes, dark streaks appear where liquid ‘bubbles’ or seeps out of cracks or wounds and runs down the bark. This liquid may cause the bark surface to become slimy and have a strong odour.

Cure

There is no cure; however, wetwood in landscape trees is not critical.

IPM Toolkit

Preventative tools

  • Sterilize your pruning equipment with methanol (gasline antifreeze) between cuts. Immediately dispose of any pruned wood by taking it to the landfill.
  • Application of a high nitrogen fertilizer will help keep the tree healthy and may help it outgrow the problem.

Physical tools

  • Clean up infected sites. Use a linoleum knife to cut as much of the slime flux away from the tree as possible. Apply an alcohol or bleach spray to clean the remaining wound.
  • You can insert drain tubes into the tree to allow the liquid to drain to the ground. This is a costly and time consuming measure.

Biological tools

  • Not applicable

Chemical tools

  • Not applicable