Ash tree sticky deposits

I have a large ash tree (in the UK) - it appears to have started to drop sticky deposits that look just like granular sugar. Problem is it's all over the patio, and gets picked up on shoes etc, as well as making the furniture sticky.
It's never done this before - does anyone know what causes it, and /or how long it lasts for???
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. . .

Many species of Fraxinus, the ash tree, exude a sugary substance which the ancient Greeks called mli, i.e. honey. This substance was harvested commercially until the early part of this century, and is found on Fraxinus excelsior in northern Europe and Fraxinus ornus in the mountains of Greece.
This fact sheds light on certain themes in classical literature - the idea of a golden age when men ate acorns and honey that dripped from trees, the idea that bees collect honey from the leaves and branches of trees, and that ash tree nymphs were nurses of the infant Zeus in the Cretan cave of Dicte. (They fed him honey). Also, a new etymology of the Greek word for ash tree is proposed in light of these connections. http://www.musaios.com/ash.htm
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Looks like those silly greeks were harvesting a bunch of insect poop. Most likley you have an insect problem on your tree, maybe aphids(though not common on ash) or scale insects, which given a high population can create massive amounts of poo. Look up into your tree and you will probably see them.
Toad
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gardener wrote:

Several years ago, southern California was infested with an ash whitefly. Not only did they drip their sweet excretions on the ground under the trees, but the droplets were picked up by the wind as they fell. Those airborne droplets would blow right through window screens and leave a sticky mess on floors and furniture.
Besides making a mess, the ash whitefly was defoliating large trees, weakening them and making them susceptible to other insect damage. Finally, a parasitic wasp that feeds on the whitefly was found. These were released throughout southern California. Less than two years later, the problem was resolved.
Since the ash whitefly also causes serious damage to various food crops, you might check with local agricultural agencies to see if it is a problem in your area.
--

David E. Ross
<http://www.rossde.com/
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