How to Take Care of Peach Tree Pests

Your peach tree can be a source of juicy goodness for you, and for the pests that infest it. Fight back by taking on the peach tree pests that threaten your harvest as part of your regular peach tree care.

Peach Tree Borer
The number one pest for peach trees is the peach tree borer. This wasp-like insect attacks your peach tree by laying eggs on the bark of the tree. As the eggs hatch, larvae bore holes in the bark and begin eating at the cambium, the soft material just under the bark. When you buy peach trees at the nursery, keep a careful eye out for telltale hole in the trunk.

There are, in fact, two species to worry about: the peach tree borer, whose attacks are limited to the base of the trunk, and the lesser peach tree borer, whose larvae attack farther up the trunk and into the limbs.

Both species of peach tree borer can be controlled by an application of a permethrin-based insecticide rated for fruit tree use. Applications should begin in early August and continue at two-week intervals through the end of September. Follow the manufacturers instructions for concentration and application instructions.

Beneficial nematodes are a good organic alternative for peach tree borer control. These parasitic organisms attack the borer larvae and can be found in commercial applications such as the "NemAttack" line of products. Although peach tree borers can be controlled with ground applications, lesser borers need to be attacked in their holes on the tree itself. Apply the nematodes to larvae entry points and cover the holes with a moisture-retaining bandage for best results.

Japanese Beetles
These ½" long, metallic-green beetles have no natural enemies in the United States. Japanese beetles are voracious leaf eaters. The best way to remove Japanese beetles is to kill their larvae. These are usually found under turf grass and can be eliminated using grub-specific pesticides or organic treatments like milky spore. Adults may be captured in traps, but don't place traps near the plants you want to protect, as the pheremones used in traps can attract Japanese beetles from up to a mile away.

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