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Dutchess_III's avatar

Why did this tree branch spout water when it was cut?

Asked by Dutchess_III (28259 points ) June 2nd, 2014

Rick and my son spent the day on Friday trimming trees around the house. They cut the branch of this one tree (probably a maple)...and a spout of water came out of the center of the part that was left on the tree. They said it shot out pretty hard for about 15 seconds, then gradually died back. It was like it was under quite a bit of pressure.

Both of them have a lot of experience with things like this, and neither of them had seen this before.

Any ideas?

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11 Answers

Blondesjon's avatar

Some trees hold a lot of water. I have cut honey locusts and cottonwoods (especially cottonwoods) that have poured the way you describe.

As far as the why part goes I would have to Google that shit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Really? This was either a maple or an elm tho…..Sounded kind of cool!

jaytkay's avatar

I think that would be maple sap and you missed a chance to make syrup. Though it takes 5 gallons of sap to make a just a pint of syrup.

gailcalled's avatar

Easy enough to ID a maple tree from the leaves…very different from the elm. (Oh, Canada)

Blondesjon's avatar

@gailcalled . . . right? nobody knows their lore anymore.

ibstubro's avatar

I’ve not seen this in trees, but when I was a kid I would nick wild grape vines (the 2” + size) and marvel at the quantity of water that poured out.

I read a locally written autobiography and in it they talk about calling cottonwood “piss wood” because when you burn it a yellow foam pours out.

I would guess a hard maple, as they’re sturdy and could handle a lot of water pressure. A “spout” is an entirely different animal from a pour.

dappled_leaves's avatar

A tall maple tree can lose 50–60 gallons per hour through evapotranspiration on a hot day. Picture that water being pulled up in a long chain from the soil to its leaves… if it’s the right time of day (i.e., hot and sunny enough), the water is moving pretty fast.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@gailcalled I know what all my trees are. Hell, I planted most of them from seeds. But I’m not the one who cut the branch, I didn’t see it, so I don’t know exactly which tree did it. I have more maples than elms, red bud or pine trees, so it was just a logical guess that it was probably one of the maples. K?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro They said it was a spout, like under pressure.

@jaytkay I would think the sap would be obviously thicker than water. But…IDK. I didn’t see it.

filmfann's avatar

I had the same thing happen with a fruitless mulberry. I was worried it had somehow rooted into a water line, but it didn’t.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish I had seen it! It just sounded cool!

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