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Monday, July 24, 2017

The Perfect Apricot Storm. Borers.

Q. During the past month of high heat one limb on our apricot tree appears to have died.  All the leaves on this limb dried up while the other leaves on the tree stayed green. The limb is about 1-1/2 inches in diameter near the base.  In addition to rough discolored bark there are a couple of amber-orange blobs of sap in this area of the limb (photos attached).
This borer infested limb can be replaced in three years or less in our climate and in production in three to four.

Any hope the limb will survive and recover next season? Should the limb be cut off now?  Could this be a disease that will spread to other limbs?

A. Paul. You have described perfectly the symptoms of boring insects (borers) in fruit tree. One limb dies while the others are healthy and frequently there is sap coming from the limb in blobs or round balls.
There's the little varmint! Under the thumb.

Take a sharp knife and remove the bark where you see the sap. If you are confident the limb is dead, remove all the bark down to where the limb is still alive. Cut the limb off in this area and hopefully the remaining stub will resprout with some suckers yet this year that can, eventually, replace the dead limb. With some TLC that can happen in three years or less.

This winter select three or four of these suckers as possible candidates to replace the dead limb. Next growing season you will make your final selection of one or two to replace the dead one.

No insecticides will do much good on these. The insect is most likely gone and the limb is dead. Cut and replace the dead limb with new growth.

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