The Q&A Archives: Peachtree

Question: Our peachtree has ants and they have already
eaten some the fruit and the leaves are turning
yellow. There has been extreme heat and we have
been watering.

Answer: Ants are attracted to peach, apricot and cherry trees because of the sticky sap these trees exude. The sap is a source of nutrition for the ants and they will take it back to their nest, and broadcast their good fortune to their neighbors. While they are busy gathering the gummy sap they can accidentally damage the fruit and once the juices flow from the injury in the fruit, the ants have a field day with the sweet juice.

They may also be finding aphids in your peach tree. Ants 'herd' aphid colonies and milk them of honeydew, a sugary residue that they excrete while feeding on the leaves of your tree. Spray your tree with a strong stream of water to dislodge any aphids you find. If you could somehow spray all the aphids with insecticidal soap, that would take care of them. But it's difficult for a homeowner to do - you may have to hire a professional. Insecticidal soap is lethal to aphids but won't hurt you or your fruit. To keep ants from climbing up your tree, place 'Tanglefoot' at the base of the trunk. Tanglefoot is an extremely sticky substance that traps insects if they fly or walk onto it. To protect the trunk of your tree, first wrap it with paper and apply the Tanglefoot to the paper. You may have to remove the paper coated Tanglefoot trap and replace it as it becomes filled with ants - if there are enough dead ants trapped, live ants will use them as a bridge and cross the Tanglefoot barrier!

Best wishes with your peaches!

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