How can I keep the ants off my stepover apple tree?

LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,406

Hello all,

I'm looking for ideas on how to stop ants (and their aphid livestock) wrecking my little stepover apple tree.

In the past, on other trees, I have used those sticky bands around the trunk, which have effectively stopped the ants. But this is a stepover tree, planted last winter, and it has stepover support, ie a taut horizontal wire to train it along. The ants don't go up the trunk, they go up the supports and along the wire. At any given time there's a non-stop train of ants going to and fro fro. Both ends, and the tree is really suffering. 

I've tried wrapping sticky bands around the wires and supports - just can't get them tight enough to stop the ants circumventing them :-(.

Any ideas?

'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
- Cicero

Posts

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 3,449

    If you stop the ants, the aphids will have a great time doing an even better job of destroying everything around them.  I haven't tried it but read somewhere about spraying a mild soap solution to kill the aphids.

  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,406

    Really? That's not been my experience with other plants - generally if I've deterred the ants, the aphids haven't taken hold. The worst aphid infestations I've had have always been accompanied by ants busily farming. Or perhapd I have misinterpreted the situation?

    DHR, I wasn't sure about ant powder near edible crops?

    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,034

    I find that by keeping the soil around the tree really moist, and using a jet from the hosepipe to wash off the aphids, they are kept under control and the ants head off for higher drier ground.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,034

    But presumably people grow apple trees in order to eat the apples image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







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