Fruit & veg
eating apple tree aphids problem
Fruit & veg
Our apple tree hasn’t produced many apples for a couple years and the aphids are spreading. We tried washing them off with soapy water which dosen’t work, can anyone recommend a way of getting rid of them ?
ideally i’d prefer to go a natural route.
That looks like a very severe case of Woolly aphid and will be difficult to treat on a tree of that size. It may not be possible to eradicate them entirely. They can be removed now with a very stiff brush (think scrubbing brush or yard brush stiffness) and a bucket of tepid soapy water (they are protected by a waxy coating so spraying water alone won't help much.) This needs to be done asap and repeated as necessary throughout the growing season. If you then use a "winter tree wash" after all of the leaves have fallen, this will kill many overwinteriing eggs and adults. Don't use the wash other than in winter or you risk harming the tree and beneficial insects.
Heavy pruning isn't recommended.
A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
It's a messy operation but needs to be done as Bob says.
I had a much lighter infestation on one of my apples. I managed to brush most of it off, the white bits float everywhere and there's a surprising amount of what I suppose is blood - so a hat is a good idea!
Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Ok thanks will have to get scrubbing then
It is the wrong time of year to prune an apple tree, but I would suggest that the branches are too congested, therefore very little movement/air/light or rain will be getting through the branches. This is typical conditions for aphids to multiply. If you can just keep watering if the soil is dry and occasionally feeding, mulch and add compost to the surface of the soil, then once the autumn or winter has come give the tree a good pruning to open up the centre of the tree, there are plenty of sites that demonstrate how to prune an apple tree. You may not have such a good crop of apples next year, but pruning is essential to keep a tree in healthy condition. In the meantime Bob and Pete have both given excellent advice in the short term.