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The peachtree borer, Synanthedon exitiosa, attacks stone fruits, especially peaches and nectarines. The thick, gummy or jellylike sap oozing from the trunk of this cherry tree (Prunus) should be scraped off to discover if it is caused by peachtree borers (Lepidoptera), although gummosis from a borer would be mixed with frass.
Only two diseases are commonly troublesome on zinnias (Zinnia elegans), powdery mildew and Alternaria blight. Spotting of the foliage caused by the fungus, Alternaria zinniae, is the most conspicuous symptom of zinnia blight. Numerous, small, reddish spots, sometimes with grayish-white centers, may be seen on stem internodes. The outer tissues of affected roots may become dark gray, rot completely, and slough off, resulting in wilting and death of the plant.
Damage is found either in the crown area or the lower part of the trunk near the soil line.
Brown spots, 1 or 2 millimeters in diameter, with grayish-white centers sometimes appear on the petal tissues of the ray flowers. Of the fungicides listed in Strategy 6, consult the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI™) for appropriate organic copper products. The clear-winged female moths lay their eggs on the bark at the base of tree trunks in mid- to late-summer.
They feed in the crown area and burrow up into the tree, leaving small piles of reddish-brown frass (waste material of the borer) at their burrow entrances.

If only a few trees in a backyard situation are infested, you can remove borers through a technique called worming. Use good sanitation practices, adequate irrigation, and good pruning techniques to keep trees healthy. Spray or paint only the trunk and lower limbs with either carbaryl (Sevin) or endosulfan (Thiodan) in the first half of May and again in the first half of August as a preventative.
Look for small accumulations of frass on the lower tree trunk, especially on trees that appear weakened.
The spots may vary from 2 to 10 millimeters or more in diameter, are reddish brown, and have grayish-white centers on the upper leaf surface. Older trees are sometimes attacked, but they usually tolerate the damage unless there are many larvae or a tree is attacked several years in a row. The tunnels that the larvae make interfere with the circulation of water and nutrients, causing twigs and branches to wilt and die. Remove the soil from around the base of infected trees, and use a pocketknife or some other pointed instrument to dig the larvae out.
Instead, they grow or coalesce into larger lesions that frequently girdle the stem causing the upper portions of the affected stem to die back to the node.
A two-year rotation schedule is satisfactory for home garden and small isolated areas where disease spread can be limited. But be warned, no cultivars to date have been found to be totally resistant to Alternaria blight.

Before planting, treat the seeds by placing them in hot water at 125 degrees F for 30 minutes. Spray seedlings and young plants with azoxystrobin (Heritage), chlorothalonil (Daconil), copper, ferbam, mancozeb, or maneb. Be careful; it is possible to seriously injure the tree if too much bark or wood is removed. As the spots increase in size and number, they coalesce and the affected leaves become brown and dry.
Dark brown to black cankers with sunken centers are also common at the base of the stem of diseased plants. The borers pupate in early to midsummer in cocoons located at the base of the tree or just inside their tunnels.
Affected plants often wilt completely, even when the basal cankers do not encircle the stem.

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