The Q&A Archives: peach tree fungus?

Question: I noticed a gel-like bubble on the lower trunk of my peach tree. I also noticed that part of the bark has peeled. Please help me as this tree was planted in memory of my mother and I would hate to see it die.

Answer: What you describe sounds like gummosis. It's common in peach, apricot and plum trees and is simply the evidence of excess sap. Look carefully at the spot where the sap is oozing out of the bark. If there is an injury (holes from boring insects or damage from a weed whacker) the wound can be an entrance place for disease pathogens. If you find no physical evidence of any problem, don't worry about the escaping sap, especially if your tree looks otherwise healthy.

If there are cankers (either raised spots or sunken spots) along the branches or the trunk of the tree and that's where the sap is oozing out, it's probably a disease called bacterial canker. This disease can kill branches or trees and is caused by the fungus Botrysphaeria dothidea. Earliest symptoms appear on the young bark of vigorous trees as small blisters, usually occurring at lenticels. Infection occurs late in the season, and may be apparent in the fall or the following spring. Some infected areas exude a gummy resin. Trees that are two or three years old, often have sunken diseased areas (cankers) apparent on the trunk and major branches. Large amounts of gummy exudate, or gum balls, are associated with lesions at multiple sites. After repeated infections, the bark becomes rough and scaly.

There is no practical chemical control available because the disease is systemic (throughout the vascular system of the plant).

Best wishes with your peach tree!

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