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Sticky spray on cars parked under maple tree

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  • Jul 21st, 2020 8:10 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 17, 2014
12 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto

Sticky spray on cars parked under maple tree

Hey all, if the heading hasn't explained it, here it is in more detail. Last summer I noticed a spray of sorts on my car that I usually park under my maple tree. The stuff was dried up and couldn't be scraped/wiped off. It made a mess especially on the windshield and other windows. Only way to clean it off was with a proper wash. This year it's happening again. What could it be? Is my maple tree ejaculating?
15 replies
Deal Fanatic
Nov 22, 2015
6670 posts
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Tree sap.... welcome to Canada
Member
User avatar
May 28, 2007
448 posts
193 upvotes
Peterborough
Hand sanatizer works on pine tar. Even cleaned some baked on the top of my ss bbq. Try it on an a hiden area first. Clean, rinse well and maybe wax.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4588 posts
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Toronto
That's likely not sap - it's bug sh!t. Politely called 'honeydew'. Likely aphids in the trees.
Deal Addict
May 16, 2017
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3061 upvotes
Curioprop wrote: Hand sanatizer works on pine tar. Even cleaned some baked on the top of my ss bbq. Try it on an a hiden area first. Clean, rinse well and maybe wax.
After trying over many years with harsh cleaners and solvents to get pine sap/tar off hands - discovered that regular cooking grade vegetable oil is a great solvent, which is then easily washed-off with a good dose of regular liquid hand soap.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 21, 2018
7511 posts
8075 upvotes
Vancouver
Yes, that's pretty common. Don't park under certain types of trees at certain times of year. It is like somebody sprayed your car with fine dots of a clear substance that is super-difficult to remove when dried. I doubt it's bug shit.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
22774 posts
21607 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
As stated, could be either Tree Sap or “honeydew”

Where Evergreen Sap is very obvious ... big yellow gooey globs

Deciduous Tree Sap tends to be less so ... and as a general rule, sap from Maples is clear in colour

Where bug shit ... tends to be brown or black.

Here’s an article / blog from a Tree Service on how to get rid of it from your car

https://www.vernonimeltreeservice.com/b ... -tree-sap/

For the record, owned a house a while back with a huge maple tree, parked under it for many years.
Never had an issue with either.
Just plenty of Samaras / seed helicopters in the Spring
And like a gazillion leaves in the Fall
Deal Expert
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Aug 18, 2005
21084 posts
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Burlington-Hamilton
It's probably from insects - a normal wash won't remove tree sap.
If you can't park anywhere else, just make sure you keep a good coat of wax or sealant on it, as a sacrificial barrier between the car and nature.

I keep a bottle of isopropyl alcohol in my car just in case of tree sap emergencies. Prevention is the best defence, but if you actually get sap, better to remove it immediately rather than let it harden.
- casual gastronomist -
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4588 posts
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Toronto
Trees don't 'rain' sap down in small droplets from the leaves.

If it's like a fine mist all over the place, it's aphid shit.
Deal Expert
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
torontotim wrote: That's likely not sap - it's bug sh!t. Politely called 'honeydew'. Likely aphids in the trees.
Learned something new today. Thx.
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Deal Fanatic
Jul 7, 2017
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SW corner of the cou…
torontotim wrote: That's likely not sap - it's bug sh!t. Politely called 'honeydew'. Likely aphids in the trees.
Not "shit", per se but "honeydew" from aphids is the most likely reason. That's why ants farm aphids, and bees will eat it as a source of "nectar".
I smile when I see container ships sailing past my house laden with stuff made in China
[OP]
Newbie
Mar 17, 2014
12 posts
3 upvotes
Toronto
So its either honeydew or sap. It's very fine, has no colour and the damn flies love it. It's possible its aphids crap but I haven't seen any sign of them. My kids play under the tree and pick up leaves all the time and we never saw anything. Still I am going to grab a ladder and try to see what I find. Thanks to all for your replies.

Cheers
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4588 posts
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Toronto
thriftshopper wrote: Not "shit", per se but "honeydew" from aphids is the most likely reason. That's why ants farm aphids, and bees will eat it as a source of "nectar".
Well, it's the waste product created by the act of the aphid nourishing itself. If that isn't shit, I don't know what is. It might be sticky and sweet and taste awesome to ants, heck it might taste great on toast. But it's still aphid waste. It's probably 90% sap - likely the aphids just gorge themselves on sap and it flows straight through them. But I'm no aphid shit expert, I just play one on tv.

"Honeydew is a sugar-rich sticky liquid, secreted by aphids and some scale insects as they feed on plant sap. When their mouthpart penetrates the phloem, the sugary, high-pressure liquid is forced out of the anus of the aphid."
Deal Addict
May 16, 2017
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rammrrod wrote: So its either honeydew or sap. It's very fine, has no colour and the damn flies love it. It's possible its aphids crap but I haven't seen any sign of them. My kids play under the tree and pick up leaves all the time and we never saw anything. Still I am going to grab a ladder and try to see what I find. Thanks to all for your replies.

Cheers
Well, honeydew from various bugs is essentially partially digested sap. Trees do also release large and small drops of sap from every crack, wound, or other opening in the bark and in response to fungal and other diseases. So, basically, whatever the source, direct or indirect, it is mostly biologically sap. And, true sap (from the plant's food supply system) is mostly sugar, plant hormones and minerals. However, there is also "cell sap" from the inards of the plant cells, which can contain much more volatile compounds - and designed to protect the plant if damaged. Of course, certain trees (like pines) also have a heavy dose of hydrocarbons that result in tree resins and tars.
Deal Addict
Apr 26, 2003
2266 posts
1325 upvotes
GTA
This thread is awesome! Tree sap does not wash off with a car wash, it requires much more elbow grease to remove, so yeah it's probably bug "honeydew".
Deal Guru
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Jan 11, 2004
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Toronto
Try wd40
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