Gelatinous glob on my fruit trees

Asked October 24, 2019, 1:15 PM EDT

Hello Experts, I have a beautiful 2-year old plum tree (see picture), that has a couple of clear, gelatinous globs on its branches. They're a half-inch to an inch long. I've attached a couple of pictures. Can you tell me what they are, and should I do anything about them? (I've also noticed them on apricot trees) Thanks for any advice!

Montgomery County Maryland

5 Responses

The blob you see is sap coming from an opening in the bark.

Fruit trees are often attacked by peach tree borer (or lesser peach tree borer) which creates holes where the larvae bores into the bark. Here is what you need to know:

Be careful not to stress your trees and thus make them more attractive to insect pests. Keep mulch on the trunk. We have had a record-breaking drought this summer--be sure the soil is fully hydrated to below the root zone before the ground freezes this winter.

Also, we cannot see a flare on this tree in the photo. The base of the tree should flare out as it goes into the ground. If not, it may be planted too deeply. This can stress a tree (and slowly kill it.)


Thanks Ellen.
I scraped the gooey stuff sway, and I can see no sign of any worms or bugs, just an area with missing bark. Should I spray it to seal it off, or just cut that branch off entirely? (It's a medium sized branch on a small tree). Also see the attached photo of an eggcase I discovered in the middle of the tree--could that be the peach tree borer's eggs? Or is it something else? Finally,I dug away about 1 - 1 1/2 inches of soil at the base of the trunk, so now it exposes a slight "flare". (see picture). Maybe it was too deep. Should I put mulch up against the trunk, or leave it bare like you see in the picture?
Thanks a lot--I'm learning that you really have to "baby" these trees!

We recommend pruning the branch back to the main trunk and discard. Do this when the tree is dormant and has lost its leaves.
The eggs are spider egg cases and spiders are beneficial in that they keep insect pests in check. No control is necessary.
The soil depth around the base of the trunk looks fine. We notice a small root on the right that you can prune off. Make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk.


Thanks so much--great help! -Dave