If you notice that your peach tree’s leaves are turning yellow and growing sparsely on certain branches or you see tiny holes in the tree’s trunk, you have peach tree borers. You’ll likely see sawdust mixed with a gummy amber-colored sap on and around the base of the tree trunk as well. The Greater Peach Tree Borer and the Lesser Peach Tree Borer are worm-like moth larvae that attack peach trees in early spring and feed on the inner bark and tree tissues. Getting rid of peach tree borers takes some planning, correct timing and ongoing treatment.
Get Rid of the Borer Worms & Eggs
Spray the peach tree’s lower branches and trunk down to the ground with an insecticide approved for peach tree borers, beginning in late May to early June. Spray the tree once every three to four weeks throughout the summer, soaking the bark and applying the insecticide spray to the entire trunk, undersides of the branches and the branch crotches.
Insert a flexible, thin wire into the borer’s holes to manually kill the individual peach tree borers. You can do this through the winter and springtime.
Remove all loose and dead bark from the peach tree’s trunk and branches. Removing the bark will expose and kill the eggs that the female borers lay beneath the bark.
Spray the peach tree’s trunk and branches with the insecticide endosulfan. Time this treatment for mid-August, after the harvest.
Use Camphor or PDB Cystals to Repel & Kill Borers
Remove the grass sod from the ground about 1 foot around the base of the peach tree trunk, using a spade or flat shovel. Purchase peach tree borer crystals, either paradichlorobenzene (PDB) or camphor crystals.
Spread the crystals on the cleared ground in late summer or early autumn, at least 2 inches from the tree trunk, forming a ring around the tree that is 1 to 2 inches wide. Apply about 1/4 oz. of crystals for a peach tree that is three years old or younger, 1/2 to 3/4 oz. for a three to six year-old tree or 1 to 1-1/2 oz. for trees more than six years old.
Shovel soil onto the crystals to cover them to a depth of about 6 inches. Tamp down the soil using your hands or the back of the shovel blade.
Shovel away the soil and remove the crystals in late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges on the peach tree.
Things You Will Need
- Insecticidal spray
- Flexible, thin wire
- Tree borer crystals
- Always read the label and follow the instructions exactly when using any type of insecticidal chemical.
- If you see a clear sap with no sawdust or holes bored into the tree, you don't have a peach tree borer infestation. This clear sap may be oozing out of the peach tree naturally, or due to cracked bark or a mechanical injury.
- Don't spray the insecticide within three weeks of harvesting the peaches. Avoid spraying any of the insecticide directly onto the fruits.
- Beware that tree borer crystals will control only the Greater Peach Tree Borer, which localizes its attack to the peach tree's trunk. If you see boring holes localized more to the peach tree's branches, you may have a Lesser Peach Tree Borer infestation, so be sure to use the insecticidal spray.