Apricot Tree Wood Bores?

Asked September 20, 2016, 1:56 PM EDT

My apricot tree has sap seeping out from a few areas on the trunk and on branches. I wonder if these are wood borers, how bad is this, and what should I do. Can an I get an arborist to look at it or advise me?

Bernalillo County New Mexico

1 Response

Your Bernalillo Coi. Extension Office's number is 243-1386. Graeme Davis is the likely person to look at your tree.

I wouldn't be surprised that peachtree borers have been involved here at some point. Once they locate a tree in distress (drought, extreme heat, injury, etc.) and start attacking it, it becomes more attractive to later generations of peachtree borers. These moths fly throughout the growing season, usually peaking in mid- to late summer. Their caterpillars might have done enough damage already to the tree's vascular system to account for the sap flow.

Would you have noticed any 'woodpeckers' hammering on your tree? With all of that sap oozing, these birds could be a possible culprit. Ordinarily, they hammer shallow pits into host tree bark in neat horizontal rows. The tree oozes sap and the birds feed on that. The trick most people try---often unsuccessfully---is excluding the little pest by loosely covering the damaged area with screen wire. Any results there might depend on how serious the wounds are in the vascular system of the tree and wound infection that still might kill the tree.

Trees weakened by heat, drought, injury, etc. are prone to attacks by other wood boring insects---yes. There could be beetles involved, but evidence of that will be found later when a victim tree is cut down. Whether damage has already been done or is in progress, there's no insecticide labeled for wood-boring larvae.

Whether it's a caterpillar, bird or beetle, large volumes of oozing sap are not good signs. This tree could be in guarded condition. Options are very few. Stone fruit trees and ornamental stone fruit trees are common victims of insect damage in New Mexico, unfortunately.

Maybe Graeme can narrow down the possibilities---but still, remedies are few and often not very successful in addressing the problems.