Do You Have Peach Tree Borers?

— Written By and last updated by Emily Walter
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Does your ornamental or fruit tree trunk occasionally weep a ‘jelly’ like substance? If so, it is time to treat for this boring pest known as the ‘peach tree borer.’

Both the ornamental flowering fruit tree and the traditional orchard fruit tree varieties are susceptible to borer damage. So, if you have peach, cherry, plum, crabapple, nectarine or apricot trees in your landscape or home orchard and have not been treating for peach tree borers you probably have them.

Most infested trees have a jelly like substance (frass) oozing out of the trunk at some point during the growing season. This does not mean you will lose the tree now, but it could be the cause later on if the pest is ignored.

Peachtree borers are clear-winged moths that deposit their eggs on the tree trunk, lower limbs or soil. Their eggs hatch and become larvae, which overwinters under the tree bark. When it warms up they tunnel into the lower trunk and roots feeding on the growing tissue and inner bark. The tree can loose fruit, exhibit stunted growth, yellow foliage and eventually die.

The good news is we can control them by using a product with the active ingredient esfenvalerate, permethrin, or cyfluthrin at the recommended label rates. Apply between the 15th of August and the 15th of September. I prefer two applications, one on the 15th of August and one around the first of September. However, some adjustments may be needed depending on the time and amount of rain.

Follow the label directions for mixing and applying the insecticide, but make sure to drench the trunk and any lower limbs and the soil around the trunk in at least a 24-inch circle. Depending on the size of the tree I recommend not using any less then a gallon of the mixed solution for each tree.

Remember to add this on your calendar this year, and in future years, to keep your trees fruitful, healthy and beautiful.