Peach Trees – Actions against Peach Tree Borer

A brief update on 3 of the fruit trees, the peaches, planted in June of 2016.  The details of all of the fruit and nut trees and shrubs can be found in the blog post “FRUIT & NUT TREE AND SHRUB WALK-AROUND JULY 2016.”  It’s safe to say I have provided all of the trees and shrubs planted with near-zero support.  So far we have only lost one peach, the “Flamin’ Fury,” and that was last year; it did not look good from the git go.

Yesterday I was prompted to check the remaining peaches for peach borer by my friend PJ.  ‘Shor ‘nuf, they appear to have recently been at the O’Henry Peach, and perhaps less recently, and less aggressively, at the  Loring Peach.

The first indication upon lifting the protective wrap (to dissuade critters from foraging and girdling the trees), was a gelatinous mass near the ground; enough to fill my palm.

A gelatinous mass, something produced by the tree perhaps in response to the attack, or resulting from damage to the cambium layer, which the borer larvae feed on

Having removed the gel-like substance, a significant wound, and the tree’s attempt to heal the wound, were evident.

Damage caused by the Peach tree borer; evidence that the wound has been there for while is the trees attempt to close up the wound

Early this afternoon I went back, after having done just a little bit of research on-line, and having heard from PJ and Mike Hoag, Lillie House (on Facebook), yesterday. More of the gel-like material had been emitted.  I tried the wire idea, which is to follow the path left by borers with a thin wire, and to kill the dirty bastards unceremoniously. No joy, I could find no path to follow.

More gel; poked around with a wire, slightly less than 1/32nd inch in diameter, had no luck finding a way in

To this point I have pictured the O’Henry peach; the Loring also showed signs of prior damage, though lesser, no weeping of gel, and an attack is perhaps not in progress; aybe the Loring is somehow more resistant to the borer

Damage to the Loring Peach; past attack perhaps

After failing with the wire on the O’Henry, I resorted to “plan B” on both trees, which in this case is to paint the trunk with latex paint. It seems, especially perhaps in our neck of the woods, in the shadow of Lake Michigan, winter freeze-thaw cycle can cause splits in the bark, which potentially provide access to the borer. The white paint reflects light, reducing the amplitude of the thermal cycle, and lessening the probability of damage, or so goes the theory.  I would imagine it also provides a less tasty path for the borers, and perhaps even some physical resistance to their progress.  Also, the borers clearly like being near the ground, or even 0-3 inches underground, when they make their attack. It probably doesn’t help that the protective wraps I am using shield them from view. In my research it was mentioned that “stone fruit” trees like peaches and plums, should not be heavily, or “pyramid” mulched. I used a 3-tine garden cultivator to remove the small amount of mulch that there was about the base of the trees.

A partial can of white latex ceiling paint was on-hand, so that was used to paint the trunks to the height of the tree protector

We might put the tree protectors back on as winter approaches, but the deer do less browsing with the dogs around, and we have not seen evidence of deer having browsed at the front of the house since we have owned the property.  I will keep my eye on these trees, and I will also look at our four plums for any evidence of the borer.  Then, is sounds like I will have some regular periodic maintenance to do to (hopefully) keep the borer at bay without the use of chemicals.

I was a bit surprised to find that the tree, or trees, were under attack; they look SO good, and both have put on 3 feet or more of new growth this year. Here is a look at the O’Henry:

O’Henry Peach, 2017 Jul 15

And the Loring:

Loring Peach, 2017 Jul 15; O’Henry in the background

We will give this a go.  If you know of additional protective measures, please see fit to benefit us by leaving a comment.

Thank you for reading, and kind regards,

John, at Primal Woods

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