Preventing Sap From Oozing from Peach and Nectarine Fruit

Question from Jeannette:
Is there anything I can do next year to prevent sap on my fruit. The peaches are mottled, if that is a word that makes sense. I don’t know what the ripe  fruit will be like but I think they will not be good. Thanks for your help Jeanntte  Ps I live in Lake Elsinore Ca.
Answer from Pat:
Unfortunately peach trees are beset with many problems. When sap oozes from a peach fruit this is most likely caused by a bug, such as a stink bug, piercing the flesh of the peach. In some cases the fruit will shrivel and fall off the tree but sometimes it will remain, the fruit will mature and can be eaten but you will need to cut around the blemish. Winter hygiene, proper pruning with clean disinfected tools and dormant spray can help control pests and diseases on peaches. (See pages 59 and 62 of my book for more information on dormant spray and peach leaf curl.) Whereas some organic gardeners don’t use dormant spray others feel that with peaches one must use it due to the prevalence of peach leaf curl. Growing an organic garden with rich organic soil, earthworm castings on the ground, mulching with manure in late fall or spring, and the presence of birds and many beneficial insects all combine to help control pests.
However, there is also another factor that may be causing juice to ooze from fruit and this is sunburn. You live in Lake Elsinore where the sun is fierce. Deciduous fruit, such as apple, peach, apricot and nectarine, needs to be properly shaded by leaves so it is not sunburned. If one lives in a mild, warm-winter climate and has planted a variety that needs more winter chill than it is getting, then it is not adapted to one’s specific climate zone. Varieties that need many hours of winter chill cannot go into dormancy in mild-winter climates. This may prevent them from dropping their leaves completely in fall and then they may fail to leaf out sufficiently in spring to shade the fruit. If you think this is the problem, there is little you can do other than perhaps finding some other way to shade the fruit, such as covering the fruiting branches of the tree with floating row covers. These would also help to keep off pests. In future, encourage dormancy in winter by letting the tree go a bit dry in fall. Clean, prune and dormant spray after the leaves have dropped off. Mulch, but don’t feed it in fall, then feed lightly in spring as the buds are opening.


  1. Evelyn Johnson

    I have sticky ooze on 2 of my lemons. They were close enough together to be sticking to one another, I separated them and remove the ooze, spray them wit the tree spray but don’t know what caused this. Should I rub them with oil or what? Other fruits look OK. Thanks for your answer.E Johnson

  2. I have a peach tree that has the sap comming off of it. I have been trying to reasurch the cause and possible solution, I have found this on your page, but not all of my peaches are rotting and I was wondering if the good ones were safe to eat or if I should just scrap this years yield start fixing the problem and wait till next year.

  3. Yes i live in the town of apple valley ca i have a apricot tree it was producing a lot of fruit this yr i notice sap coming out every where there was little eggs inside of sap dropping the fruit has brown spots all over i have sprayed tree oil on tree is there something else i can do tks

    • There is little you can do this year to correct problems with your apricot tree. However, you could try applying earthworm castings as a mulch under the drip line. Water normally. The castings contain chitinase which can gradually be absorbed by the tree. Chitinase is an enzyme that destroys chitin. The exoskeletons of insects are made of chitin. This treatment should also get rid of ants. Ants carry pests onto trees.

      Your best defense, however, is to apply dormant spray in winter. But first, once leaves have fallen, consult a pruning manual and prune the tree properly. Then scrape the bark, paying special attention to all crevasses and joints to remove any visible pests and clean out their hiding places. Next, rake under the tree, removing all debris, twigs, leaves and old mulch and send it to the dump. Replace with a layer of fresh mulch. Finally spray the tree with dormant spray recommended for apricot trees, going over every bit of the bark carefully with spray. If it rains within a day or two, spray again. After one month spray a second time, and one month later spray a third time. All deciduous fruit trees need winter pruning followed by dormant spray or they inevitably fall prey to pests and diseases.

  4. I moved into a new home and a small Peach tree was on my lawn looking awful.. No fruit and think it was dying.. I pruned it back and cleaned it up and this year I have many peaches on it. It is a very small tree but the peaches are good size. I am finding sticky stuff oozing out on a few and also dark spots on some. I cannot visually see any bugs but some of the leaves have little holes so something is eating at it. What should I do?

    • Peach trees are prey to a flock of pests and diseases and unusually hot temperatures this year are exacerbating problems. Most problems you are having with fruit are more likely caused by disease and not by pests. Remove and discard any damaged fruit, or eat the good parts if part of the fruit are edible. Make sure none are left lying on the ground. Check beneath leaves and squish any caterpillars you see. However, a few holes in leaves are not serious. Clean up any debris and fallen fruit under the tree and replace with fresh mulch. Check the trunk for ants and if you find some, spread earthworm castings over the roots surrounding the trunk beginning a foot or two away from the trunk. This will get rid of ants that bring pests. Next winter after leaves fall, refer to a pruning manual and prune the tree, Then apply dormant spray three times in November, December and January. All peach trees will eventually get peach leaf curl if they are not dormant sprayed in winter.

  5. My peach tree is secreting juice falling from its branches and leaves. there are so many honey bees around it….i want to know the reason behind the secretion ……its mid oct

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