Trees have blood too. It may sound surprising, but it is true. The blood of a tree is typically known as sap which contains all the fantastic nutrients. Like blood, energy is carried to the branches of a tree through the fluid. Along with the fascinating appearance in multiple photos, there are some curious aspects about tree sap. In this article, we have discussed tree sap with causes and uses.
What is Tree Sap?
Tree sap is the blood of a tree which usually consists of two individual substances. These two elements are bound together, which forms the sap. The two substances are commonly known as xylem and Phloem.
Each of the substances has its purpose. Xylem is known for transporting minerals, hormones, and water. The mechanism is the same as the human body. All the minerals, water, and hormones are transported from the bottom of the tree to the top.
The xylem usually gets destroyed after 365 days and forms a new set. Typically trees with beautiful rings have old xylem. Each year, a ring forms, representing the elder xylem channel.
The other element, Phloem, is the part that we generally find. Phloem is the sticky part that doesn’t want to come off that easily. Trees also need food to grow, which is created via photosynthesis. Further on, the sugar bit forms the sticky sap.
What Causes Tree Sap?
Acer Saccharum is a famous tree, the sap of which is commonly used to explain sap elements. Apart from the chemical elements, sap contains more than 2% sugar. A healthy tree during the end of winter and the beginning of spring can produce around 15 gallons of sap.
Leaves produce the central part of the sap, which is then transported all over the tree via the Phloem. The Phloem is vertically distributed from the bottom of the tree to the top. If someone cuts a branch of a healthy tree and tears the Phloem, there will be a heavy flow of sap oozing out — a tree’s level of sap changes throughout the year. For example, sap production is higher during the beginning of spring. Hence, pruning at that time wasn’t a good idea. Using different saws like a circular saw, chainsaw, or any other type, the sap can get into the saw and ruin the blade.
During some seasons, trees produce extra sap. If you prune a tree during that period, the tree will lose an excessive amount of sap. That is the reason when woodpeckers hit a tree continuously; the sap drips down. If this is overlooked for a more extended period, it can cause a fungal attack or other harmful diseases. Recovering from those diseases is a challenging task. Hence, if you see excessive sap coming out of a tree, you should take care of it as soon as possible.
Even though every tree produces sap, some trees are not prone to sap leakage. Planting those trees in the garden will save you from a lot of hustle. Trees like sunset zone 1, English Oak, etc., don’t produce excessive amounts of sap, which means they are also safe from harmful pests and diseases.
Uses of Tree Sap
Now that we know the definition and causes of tree sap, we will now go through the benefits tree sap offers us. We have found seven uses of tree sap which we have discussed below.
Saps of some trees contain anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, Which are typically great for medical treatments. People worldwide use the sap tree for sealing the wounded areas. As it also has anti-bacterial elements, it prevents the area from infection.
When we are outside, we don’t carry any first aid kids a lot of the time. The sap of the pine trees can be used as an antiseptic product. You have to make sure that the wound is clean, then apply a little bit of sap over the wound. This will work as a barrier.
If you are bleeding, you can also use a few layers of sap. It will work as a band-aid.
Saps are also used to treat different skin concerns like eczema, rashes, etc. This is why pharmaceutical companies use palm tree sap to create ointments. Using the raw palm tree sap, you’ll have to concentrate alcohol to remove that as saps are pretty stubborn.
Saps usually come in different globs. The softer globs are excellent for treating sore throats. Take a little bit of fluid and start chewing it. You can also mix it with honey and form something like chewing gum. Saps have astringent, which is excellent for swollen throat. Another fantastic way of using sap is mixing it with tea.
Emergency Source of Fire
When you don’t have any torch around you, and you’re in desperate need of a source of light, you can use tree sap to create fire. Sap allows the material to burn slowly. If you have any kind of cloth, pour some sap over it and burn it. It will enable you to light the material for a more extended period.
As branches contain sap, they can be a great source of light. You can turn them into a natural torch. Even though loading the sap can be a little difficult, it is still a great natural light source. You can also use the sap to fuel the lamp. For that, you will have to mix the sap with some beeswax. It will allow the material to burn quickly.
Removing Tree Sap From Clothes, Skin, Cars, and Other Items
Tree sap can be pretty hard to remove from clothes, skin, or cars body. No matter how careful you are, getting tree sap is common. If you have the facilities around you, try to clean the sap as soon as possible. But if it has been sitting for a while, then take some rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and put it where you have sap. In the case of body parts, use a cotton ball to remove the sap. For fabrics, pour the rubbing alcohol over the material and wash it with warm water.
Tree Sap is Not Tree Resin
People often mistake tree sap with tree resin, but these two are quite different. Both of the terms are related to plants. The sap is a sugary component consisting of two substances, xylem and Phloem. On the other hand, resin is a liquid substance that stays on the outer layer.
If you compare the colors of the two components, the sap is slightly yellow or white and stickier. Resin, on the other hand, is red and quite hard.
Sap and resin are always confused with one another. But the two parts of sap are made out of two different elements. The xylem sap has hormones, nutrients, minerals, etc. The phloem sap has sugar, water, minerals, and hormones. The sap is used to produce sugar, molasses, maple syrup, etc.
Resin, on the other hand, is used for multiple purposes. As resins of different trees have different chemical components, they are used according to their type. For example, pine resin is used for boats, lacquer, perfume, varnish, ink, jewelry, etc.
Now that we have discussed the characteristics of tree sap with causes and uses, we know that tree sap is beneficial in many ways, but it can be pretty stubborn, especially when they get into the saw or other materials. Hence, we should be careful while pruning or handling a healthy tree.