New car, old tree
June 8, 2016 1:15 AM   Subscribe

My driveway has a magnolia tree and I have a new car. I'm resigning myself to more frequent washing but would like to do a regular quick job rather than a huge undertaking. What are your car washing / sap / driveway tree maintenance / bird dropping hacks?

There is no place other than under the tree I can park and anything underneath it gets covered in sap and bird droppings, its the sap more than anything that is bugging me.

I've pruned some of the branches so that everything is a bit thinner in the canopy and there's less foliage over the front of the car. The roof and rear is always going to be under the tree.

Right now the sap seems more abundant than I've noticed it before (entirely possible its always been like this but I just haven't cared as much to notice), could this be due to insects? Should I spray some insecticide? I'm clueless about gardening and tree care, I don't mind using chemicals. I'm in the UK and would probably end up having to buy it from B&Q. Is there a time of year when I should expect sap to be worse and times I could expect to have to wash less?

I've got a power washer with a brush and liquid attachments and a rather old hose, I'm going to go buy a hose on a reel as that should make life easier. I keep car wipes in the boot to get poops but they're not great for sap.

The car is a Mazda2 in Arctic White which is a flat white, not metallic.
posted by Ness to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you install an inexpensive carport? What about a custom car cover?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:51 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you polish the car periodically (I'm not sure if you would categorise that as a huge undertaking) the regular washes will be quicker and easier. Things will simply not stick as well to a polished surface.
posted by Harald74 at 2:06 AM on June 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Your tree isn't dripping sap. You have an infestation of magnolia scale. Here's an article on how to get rid of it.
posted by ananci at 2:19 AM on June 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh hmm, I didnt think of a cover. But, my house is on a school route and has an open driveway to the street. Kids tend to use our hedge as a place to put rubbish and other treasures and I wouldn't put it past someone to help themselves to the cover and run it up the street for larks.

Which insecticide that I can get from B&Q might help with magnolia scale and how and when do I apply it?
posted by Ness at 2:25 AM on June 8, 2016

I don't know if B&Q sells horticultural oil, but the article I linked has very clear instructions on how and when to apply both it and the insecticide -- it's not hard, you just have to time it right. If you have a local garden shop or nursery they can probably help you locate the things you will need.

I highly recommend you start treating for scale, as once this issue develops it is unlikely to go away on its own.
posted by ananci at 2:47 AM on June 8, 2016

You can get a lock for the car cover.
posted by brujita at 3:10 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

An alcohol gel, i.e. hand sanitizer, does a great job of softening sap without dripping all over the place. (pretending the scale-related sap-like stuff is regular sap)
posted by aimedwander at 5:46 AM on June 8, 2016

my partner uses a car cover (a silver grey thing). looks like the token old person's car in the lot, but it certainly protects from bird shit and tree goo. i guess it's possible someone could steal it, but it's fairly heavy and cumbersome to remove (she only uses the car a few times a month, so it's worth the hassle). i've heard that removing it can scratch the paint and i guess you would need somewhere to store it when using the car (she leaves it in a pile in the parking space, but it's infrequent and in a gated area). so it's a bunch of trade-offs, but overall it works for her (i suspect it's not for you, but thought some extra info might help).
posted by andrewcooke at 8:03 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have the same issue right now. I'm considering something like this.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:30 AM on June 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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