Peach tree questions
I have three peach trees that are approximately 3 years old. This year they all produced fruit. However, all of the fruit had a clear, jel-like substance emitting from small dark spots. Also the leaves looked like a pest was eating away. The end 12 inches of one branch was completely stripped of leaves and bark. The fruit that was produces is hard, medium size with very little blush color. I need your thoughts on what this pest is and how to elimenate it.
Carroll County Maryland
There may be several reasons for the sap on the peaches. Could be an insect such as oriental fruit moth, tarnished plant bugs,etc. It is also possible that an insect may have stung the fruits or tried to lay an egg; could be a natural ripening process, or a physical wound. Cut open the fruit and look for larvae inside to rule out insect feeding.
See our page on stone fruit insects for more information. If you notice larvae you will have to spray next season. See our page on stone fruit insects and cultural and environmental problems, and the Va Tech Spray Schedule
Also, the damage to the branch may have been done by squirrels or could be physical damage like a broken branch. Prune and do not worry about it. No control is necessary. Remove all fallen fruits from the ground.
Your thoughts on why the fruit did not grow to normal size and remain very hard. will they ripen if I pick them up and bring them into the house?
Did you thin your peaches earlier this season? If peaches are not thinned, they will produce a big crop of small-sized fruits. Here is information about thinning. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/fruit-trees-fruit-thinning
They also may just need more time to ripen. The size of peach fruits my increase by almost 50 percent in the month before harvest. They simply might just need more time.
It is best to wait for peaches to ripen on the tree before harvesting. You can pick them slightly underripe since they will continue to ripen somewhat when stored at room temperature.
Flavor, however, does not improve after peaches are harvested. The peach in your photo looks like it is too immature to ripen well if you bring it inside.