[permaculture] Control of Peach Tree Borer

Jay Woods woodsjay at cox.net
Wed Jun 8 09:15:13 EDT 2005

One more observation. Most of the damaged trees are planted in heavily mulched 
soil. Most of the undamaged trees are planted in unmulched soil. The garden 
beds have all kinds of nectary plants with plenty of spiders, snakes, and 
predatory insects. There are no amphibians because there are too many 
mosquitoes with pools of water left around. 

On Monday 16 May 2005 09:11, Meg Mullett wrote:
> Jay wrote:
> > About a fifth of my peach trees have died this winter due to trunk
> > girdling by the borer. Are there any suggestions to minimize the damage
> > beyond good soil, good sanitation, and good thoughts?
> Hi Jay,
> You've gotten some good suggestions so far, I think.  I have a couple
> more thoughts for you.
> The key to controlling peach tree borer (or any insect, really) is
> understanding when the insect is at its most vulnerable, - when its a
> moth outside the tree and can be squashed, eaten, confused or trapped,
> and when its an egg or larva still outside the tree, when it can be
> squashed, eaten, poisoned or suffocated.  Once it burrows into the tree
> there's not much you can do.
> There are several good extension publications out there that explain the
> life cycle of the peach tree borer.  They also explain the difference
> between the peach tree borer and the lesser peach tree borer.  It's
> important to know which you have, because they come for different
> reasons and attack different areas of the tree.  The peach tree borer
> generally only attacks heathy (usually young) trees and confines its
> activity to the lower trunk and ground, while the lessor peach tree
> borer lays its eggs in already damaged areas all over the tree.  Since
> you said "peach tree borer" I'll assume that it is not the "lesser"
> peach tree borer, and confine my thoughts to that one.
> According to
> http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/fruit/ef200.htm ,
> unlike most moths, the peach tree borer moth is most active from 10 am
> to 2 pm.  The same page also states that egg laying begins shortly after
> emerging and lasts only a few days.  So, one idea might be to monitor
> for moth emergence by using sticky traps checked daily, then once you
> see they are present, setting up a misting sprinkler around the tree
> from 10 am to 2 pm.  (wet wings means can't fly) Or, you might try
> sticky trap paint all around the lower portions of the trunk.   You
> might also try painting the trunk with some sort of clay mixture prior
> to moth activity, so they have fewer places to lay their eggs, and fewer
> entry points for the larva?
> I love the chicken idea, and if you can do it I highly recommend it.  If
> however, you're in town and cant have chickens, how about putting in a
> water garden and some bird feeders and bird houses?  Lots of birds means
> lots of bug and larva eaters.  Water features will attract more birds
> and insects as well as my personal favorites; toads and frogs.  Did you
> know that a large toad can eat up to 1000 insects in one day? The
> average small toad typically eats over 30,000 in a growing season.   I
> don't really have a pond yet, however the pigs we keep each year tend to
> dig one out for each year, and their wallows are always full of toads.
> Every place that I water often I put hollow logs, broken upside down
> flower pots, or even just rocks stacked to create a dark damp place for
> toads to get out of the sun.  Encouraging toads under your trees might
> help with borer control.
> Also, I know this is counter to many other publications, but I prefer
> not to not clean up too much underneath the trees.  Having some tall
> weeds and wild places encourages orb or garden spiders (Argiope), which
> also are amazing little bug eaters.
> I guess what I'm getting at is that if you've got a healthy amount of
> birds, amphibians and predatory insects already in your garden, when the
> borer moths emerge and when they hatch from their eggs, they'll have
> less of a chance of making it into the tree.
> All that said, peach tree borer is a serious pest, and is very difficult
> to control, even with poisons.  Peaches in general are a difficult tree
> to grow successfully.  They have a number of serious insect pests, and
> are prone to a number of diseases and injuries that are difficult to
> control organically, let alone in a "permie" way.  My personal choice is
> to not try to grow the more difficult fruits, but concentrate on more
> hardy native fruits that fit my "no poison and not much care" growing
> lifestyle. :)
> Hope this helps, and at least provides some food for thought.
> Meg in KS
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