You are not alone if you’re wondering what the sticky stuff covering your car is. Many in Central Texas are dealing with the same headache.
“Don’t worry, your trees are not dying, and that prized pecan or oak tree will be just fine. The sticky substance coating your windshield after you park in the shade is honeydew,” Vincent Debrock, a Master Arborist with Heritage Tree Care in Austin, reassured frantic tree owners this week.
What causes honeydew?
A recent segment on Austin’s NPR station reminded listeners—that sticky stuff on your car isn’t tree sap. It’s the excrement from small sap-sucking insects such as leafhoppers and aphids.
“We don’t see as many ladybugs, lacewings, and other aphid predators when the weather is so hot and dry,” Debrock said. “This allows the aphid, mealybug, and other sap-sucking insect numbers to build up. You may see damage to your roses and flowers, but these tiny insects seldom cause significant damage to our trees.”
How do I get rid of honeydew?
A fungus known as sooty mold may form on leaves or hard surfaces coated with honeydew. You can wash this black mold and the honeydew off with a garden hose. No, you don’t need to spray your trees with pesticide.
As the weather begins to cool and we get some rain, insect numbers should decrease. In the meantime, avoid parking too close to trees, and remember it’s easier to wash the sticky substance off while it is fresh.
Debrock reminds us, “Prevention is better than cure. A healthy tree can withstand insect damage better than one that’s stressed.”
However, if you are concerned about a tree in your yard, fall is a great time to book a consultation with one of our arborists to look at the health of your trees.