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Heather’s Weather Lab: Sap Frozen in Time

Sap Frozen on a River Birch Tree Photo By: Dana Miles

Sap Frozen on a River Birch Tree
Photo By: Dana Miles

Columbus, Miss. (WCBI) – The first day of Spring is Thursday and we’re already seeing signs of it. Trees are starting to bud and that means we’ll see sap oozing out of trees in the days and weeks to come.

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We found sap that was frozen about a half in thick in Columbus, MS. We also received the picture on the right from Dana Miles who saw the same thing. It looks like ice on tree branches, but it’s simply sap that’s frozen because of the sub freezing temperatures.

Reid Nevins is an extension agent at the Mississippi State University Extension Services in Columbus.

“Whenever a tree breaks or you’re pruning a tree this late, you might see what some call the sap rising,” said Reid Nevins at the MSU Extension Services in Columbus.

It was a broken tree limb that caused the sap to start oozing out of the tree we found. It created a puddle on the ground. Gusty winds snapped it just as the sap started rising.

Yet, with a couple of freezing cold nights, the dripping sap turned into frozen solid sap.

“It will freeze, but it’s not going to hurt the tree. and eventually it will stop,” said Nevins.

If you prune too soon, you can get the same phenomenon.

“The nutrients are coming up through the roots and going up through the trunk, to the branches and to the leaves. That’s why you see the buds start to swell on the trees this time of year,” said Nevins.

Nevins says the best time to prune in January and February.