Treat for Peachtree Borers in Late Summer

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Calls frequently come in to the Extension Office during the summer and fall growing season with folks asking about a jelly like substance seeping from their peach and plum trees and also their ornamental cherries and peach trees. Crabapple is also susceptible to this problem.

Most likely, the culprit is the peachtree borer. The oozing frass can occur at any time during the growing season and while it doesn’t mean instant death it will eventually kill affected trees.

Peachtree borers are clear-winged moths that lay their eggs on the tree trunk, lower limbs or in the soil at the base of the tree. The eggs hatch and become larvae, which overwinter under the tree bark. When it warms up they tunnel into the lower trunk and roots and begin feeding on the growing tissue and inner bark. This is when the jelly becomes obvious as it seeps from the trunk or limbs. The tree will exhibit stress with stunted growth, small or no fruit and yellowing leaves.

But, don’t cut your tree down just yet. Peachtree borers can be controlled by applying products containing the active ingredient permethrin, bifenthrin or cyfluthrin . Remember to follow the label directions. Make two applications between mid-August and mid-September at 2-week intervals.

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. Each tree needs at least a gallon of the solution.

Don’t forget to check your trees frequently and it never hurts to mark a calendar to remind that treatment time is near.

peachtree borer adult insect

Peachtree Borer Adult

frass oozing from a tree infected with peachtree borers

Frass

For more information on the peachtree borer visit NC State Extension Publications – Peachtree Borer.