Posted by: Todd Hagenbuch, Routt County Extension
|The Futura will look brighter after a good wash. |
(Well, after that and the paint job I'm pushing for...)
I took Mom’s car from her home a couple of weeks ago to get some estimates on the work. In the time since, it’s been in my driveway instead of in her garage. When I met her with the car to discuss the restoration, she questioned what had happened to her already-spoiled paint job. “Honey, what did you do?!?” she exclaimed. “This honey didn’t do anything, Mom,” I replied. “That’s honeydew.”
|Nope, that's not custom paint- that's honeydew.|
(At least it does bring some shine to the ol' girl!)
Like I did with the Falcon, you’ve probably parked a car under a tree seeking shade from the summer sun only to come back and find the windshield sticky with honeydew. Perhaps your deck and railing have become covered with the sticky substance, too, or the sidewalk under a tree. I get calls in the office asking what kind of tree it is that creates the honeydew, or what’s wrong with a tree that's ‘leaking’ sap from above. No one is thrilled to find out it’s actually insect poop that has covered their patio furniture or sunroof.
|These shade seekers will find their windshields a sticky mess|
at the end of the day as this cottonwood has aphids.
Honeydew does have its fans. The hum from the tree near the Falcon isn't the 289 V8 firing all cylinders, but Western Yellowjackets who feed on it and swarm the tree to find it. Ants love it, too, and will roam the plant or tree collecting it and protecting the aphids producing it.
Plants can be sprayed with an insecticidal soap or pesticides to help control aphids, but I find that just spraying them down with a strong jet of water is effective and causes fewer issues for beneficial insects and the items below the tree. A hard rain will do the same thing and provide relief for a few days, but remember that the aphid population will rebound quickly. Spraying with water again can help keep numbers manageable.
|A lower leaf from the cottonwood, sticky with honeydew|