Transplanting – Soil treatment

Q: Last year carpenter ants nested in and killed our five-year old peach tree. We want to remove the dead one and plant a new tree in the same spot. Do we need to treat the soil to prevent the ants from hurting the new tree?

A: I very much doubt the ants killed the peach. Peach and cherry trees have soft interior wood that rots easily when exposed to the elements. It’s common for hollows to develop where limbs break off. Carpenter ants don’t eat live wood but they love excavating moist spaces to set up housekeeping. Leave no stubs when you prune your new peach and you’ll have a healthy tree. There is no need to poison the soil.