orange goo on peach tree

toad_ca(z7b Bellingham, WA)October 26, 2009

We just noticed this orange jelly-like goo on the trunk of our peach tree. We bought the tree as not much more than a whip two years ago. What is the problem and how can we treat it? The gouges could be from the goo, but very likely they could be from the deer.

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Your peach tree appears to have bacterial canker. This is a serious and often terminal disease of peach trees, and affected branches should be cut off well below the diseased areas as soon as they are identified. Leaving them will only encourage the disease to spread faster and farther. If this means partially destroying the tree, that that's it.

There is no real cure for bacterial canker once it is established; only delaying actions to squeeze more years out of the tree. In addition to pruning, treatment consists of at least two dormant sprays of a very effective copper solution such as Kocide, which is high in effective fixed copper. Available liquids are much weaker, and consequently less effective. I spray my stone fruit trees in very late fall, and again in spring just before bud break. The best option is prevention, which consists of the same spray program before symptoms are even seen. With a good prevention program, peach trees can live and produce for 20 years or more, although in areas with high disease pressures there are no guarantees. Copper sprays will also greatly reduce or eliminate peach leaf curl, which is usually a problem in your area.

It is somewhat unusual for a peach tree to show canker symptoms at such a tender age, and it is possible that the disease was already present when you planted the tree. If you plant another peach tree, choose another nursery source. It would be interesting to know where you purchased this tree, and the variety if you know it.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 6:36PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Bacterial blight/canker is a very common problem fot peaches & cherries in our region.

I suggest you replace the tree as soon as the new bareroot one are available -- usually Jan or Feb.

And as suggested, always ask for the "best kind to grow" in your region.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 7:50PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I would say this is damage from deer rubbing on the tree, and the goo is the peach trees sap ooze out of the wounds. One way you can tell the difference between deer damage and canker is to look on what side of the tree the damage is; if the damaged areas are on the obvious walkway/path side only, it is likely deer damage. I had almost identical damage to a young peach tree from deer, I am guessing from them rubbing their antlers on it. If it is deer damage just leave the tree alone and it will recover.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 8:58AM
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Hard to tell from the pic but is this just one one branch, the trunk, many branches? The wood in the wounds looks pretty old to be from any deer damage this year, assuming you have some whitetail and mule deer in WA, although I dont know for sure. Deer here in PA have been rubbing for about a month and that wound looks more than a month old and they usually srip the bark more than that.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 1:51PM
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misterbaby(7a/b TN)

Hi, Toad! Always trust the Jellyman in these matters. He knows from shinola about what he speaks. Misterbaby.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 9:03PM
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alan haigh

Don't trust anyone doing diagnosis from a single photograph. Misterbaby's suggestion is illadvised IMO. Jellyman's expereince and even his well developed common sense is no substitute for getting some tissue under the microscope of a competent pathologist. Your extension agent can help you get this done for a reasonable expense.

Bacterial canker, at least in NY, tends to affect older peaches that have lost adequate vigor as Don suggests. This alone is enough reason to suspect another cause. If it is canker, your issue is probably rooted in your soil. Peaches need lots of air down there. Of course, this is just a guess. We actually need a lot more to work on than that one photograph. Right now, I'd give equal credence to Scott and Don- both of them know quite well what they're talking about.

What is your soil like? How was the peach tree growing before it showed these symtoms? Are other branches showing the same symtoms?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 6:27AM
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Here in the south, peach tree borers leave the same look, but generally not so widely spread. I once found such a profusion of ozze and scraped with a pocketknife to find the critter's hole then used the knife to probe the hole and kill the borers.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 5:14PM
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