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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Time to Treat Peach Tree Borer

LAS CRUCES - Fall is a good time to protect peach and related trees against their worst enemy: the peach tree borer.

"This insect winds up killing most of the peach trees in New Mexico if it's not controlled," said Charles Ward, an entomologist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

At this time of year, the larvae have already bored into the trunk, but it is possible to kill them before they cause extensive damage, Ward said.

"About mid-October, apply borer crystals available from the garden supply centers or use insect parasitic nematode," Ward said. "Either treatment can be applied in the fall after all the borer eggs have hatched."

To find out if your peach, plum, apricot or ornamental purple plum tree has borer damage, dig down about an inch around the trunk. If you see a lot of gum oozing from the tree trunk, that's a symptom of peach tree borer.

Another indication is slow growth and inefficient use of water. "Particularly as the larvae kill the bark on one side of the tree, you may find one branch that wilts more readily than others," Ward said. "That's an indication there's severe damage on that side of the tree."

To learn more about peach tree borer, ask your county Extension office for a copy of circular 515.