Peach tree -- borers? leaf curl?

lauriedutch(5 / CO)July 22, 2009


The leaves on our Reliance peach tree (planted Sept 2008) are dying and there is something red oozing out the bottom of the trunk.

In the attached photo showing the leaves, does it look like leaf curl, or can you think of another cause? I don't know what leaf curl is, have just heard it mentioned here.

I placed moth balls around the trunk as the red oozing stuff and location fits the description of borers that I read about in this forum. Can someone let me know if the wound looks like it is caused by borers?

Any suggestions how to help the tree with these things?


This is my first attempt at attaching photos here, so am trying to include two photos in a few different ways. I hope they display.



leaf curl?


Here is a link that might be useful:

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Laurie: I can't see the trunk very well as the pic is too small for me to have a clue. Borers wouldn't be out of the question. I think others have suggested getting a very stiff, very small wire and prodding around for a hole and tunnell that a borer would be excavating. If you find the tunnel, prod the borer to death. If you are really good, you can even get the little bugger pulled out of the hole if the wire has barbs nicked into it. I am not the expert on this topic.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 7:56PM
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lauriedutch(5 / CO)

Here's another photo. This is a closeup of the area. For size perspective, the white ball in the mulch is a moth ball.

Does it look like borer damage and if so, do you think the moth balls will chase away the borers?


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:29AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I'm sorry but your peach tree is dead. One of the pics looks like it was in some sort of container, is this correct? If so, I suspect it was a watering issue that did your tree in, too much water. The ooze on your tree looks like canker.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 11:13AM
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lauriedutch(5 / CO)

It's in the ground (not in a container).

What is canker and why do you think the tree is dead?

One of our trees had its leaves die, then the following season it had zero leaves. But we kept it and it made a comback the next year and is now a spectacular tree with tons of leaves.

As for the peach tree, we had a severe spring freeze this year. I wonder if that caused its leaves to die.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 11:33AM
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Agree with Olpea that your peach tree is suffering from bacterial canker. No need for me to take an entire page to explain what it is; Google it yourself and read all about it. Bacterial canker is common on peach trees, and has nothing to do with borers. I dormant spray peaches with copper each season to try to prevent this disease from getting a foothold on my stone fruit trees.

A tree with canker at that point on the trunk is a goner, since you can't really prune it off without destroying the tree. I can't get to your photos of the leaves, but if they are dead then so is the tree, regardless of your experience with some other tree that you do not specify.

A spring freeze may temporarily cause damage to emerging leaves, but on a healthy tree they quickly recover. So that's not it either. Peach leaf curl is common in climates that have consistently cool, moist spring weather and a slow warmup, but curl must be a relatively rare occurrence in Colorado.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 12:32PM
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lauriedutch(5 / CO)

Oh darn :-(((

It's our only stone fruit tree. Is there any chance of the bacterial canker spreading to apple or pear trees?


    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 12:43PM
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Did you Google bacterial canker and read about it? If so, then you already know that it is a disease of stone fruits. My message above also conveyed the fact that I spray stone fruits in the dormant season to ward off canker.

That peach tree looks very large to have been planted in the fall of last year. Was this a potted or rootballed tree purchased at a local nursery? If so, it may have come to you already infected, especially if it was grown in an area where this disease is prevalent. The fact that the tree developed canker the spring after planting strongly suggests that this is what happened.

Next time you plant a peach tree, I suggest bare root from a reliable mailorder or online nursery. The trees start out small, but are likely to be healthier and more vigorous than containerized nursery trees. Plant bare root stone fruits in spring, not fall. Don't try to jump the gun by planting a larger tree. It is a waste of your time and money.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 1:43PM
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lauriedutch(5 / CO)


I Googled peach tree canker after reading olpea's message, and yes I did read online and in your message that it affects stone fruits. I just wanted to reconfirm. Thanks for your patience about this. It would be awful if the disease were to spread.

The tree was about 4.5-5' tall when we bought it from a local nursery. It was potted in a plastic planter bucket. We now suspect it may have been diseased when we bought it.

Thanks for the advice re buying another peach tree. If you have any favorite mail order places for reliance peach trees, please recommend one. Otherwise, I'll ask around. I think one of my neighbors buys his trees by mail order rather than locally. I wondered why, but now I understand why.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 1:53PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


There are many good quality mail order nurseries discussed on this forum. Burnt Ridge Nursery used to sell Reliance. I don't know if they still do. I don't like Reliance because it's only a fair quality peach. Although I don't grow it, PF 24c is supposed to be a better quality peach and just as cold hardy as Reliance. For PF 24c, you may check with Adams County Nursery. Schlabach's Nursery also carried it this spring. All the above nurseries have on-line ordering, except Schlabach's. You can call them for a free catalog and order by phone. Best to order before Jan 1.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 11:20PM
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