|I have a gummy clear sap coming out of my peaches when they become golf ball size and have noticed it at the base of the tree as well. What is it and how can I get rid of it? Also, anything to keep the squirrels from eating all the fruit in my yard.|
|Prunus family (peach, pear, apricot, cherry) are subject to gummosis. The gumming is a result of mechanical injury, insect damage, fungal diseases, or improper growing conditions. Sometimes it happens because too much water or nitrogen fertilizer have been applied.
You should inspect to see that there are no cankers on the trunks of the trees that might be harboring disease spores. Check to see that there is no insect activity. Once you've ruled out those two problems, then withhold fertilizer and water thoroughly only about once a week so you don't encourage fast but weak growth. You can protect the trees with a fungicide before new spring growth begins.
Oriental fruit moth can enter the young peaches and injure the fruit which will cause the sap to form on the outside of the fruit. The peaches are usually damaged enough that they will fall from the tree before ever maturing. You'll want to cut open a few of the fallen or sappy fruit to see if you can find a little worm inside. If so, remove all of the affected fruit and dispose of it to stop the cycle of infestation. It's difficult to control the fruit moth because it flies around. Sometimes you can place a barrier on each little fruit and sometimes, if the timing is right, you can spray your tree. Your best option is to contact your local cooperative extension office to see what they suggest in terms of control products and timing of sprays. Here's the contact information: Cobb County Extension 678 South Cobb Dr., Suite 200. Marietta, GA 30060 phone (770) 528-4070.
Squirrels are a real problem with fruit trees. I've had success in thwarting them by draping the trees with birdnetting and carefully securing it to the trunk of the tree so there are no possible openings for the squirrels to enter. Your extension office might have other ideas.