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Blackfly infestation on elderflower tree

hi there
I have a 20 ft high elderflower tree in my sunny little back garden in Bethnal Green, and as much as i enjoy having a tree - it is infested with blackfly from March - June usually, dropping tiny sweet sticky droplets over everything else including my clothes line and my neighbour's garden! I have tried spraying (first with washing up liquid solution, then reluctantly with bug killer), jet-spraying with the hose, and cutting it back as mcuh as possible, but new shoots come and the aphids seem to love these even more. What options do I have other than chopping it down? I hate to see the tree cut down, but i'm concerned both for the plants in my garden and my neighbours. Please help! 
Grateful for any advice at all, 


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Hopefully others will have better idea than hosing off the aphids. So strange how some shrubs are more affected than others. When I used to grow them, never had the issue. Could be to do with soil type. Maybe good soil or lots of feeding creates sappy fast growing branches? At this time of year, so many plants grow fast, and with that comes aphid infestations. 

    I have given up on growing Nasturtiums myself, the aphids just gravitate to them and they never recover. 
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,481
    I think the insurmountable problem is going to be its height?  I'd normally recommend spraying them with the liquor from boiled rhubarb leaves but not 20ft in the air?   Is pruning it back a good enough compromise?
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    I may be wrong, but I think perhaps Bethnal Green is your problem.  I grew up in Stoke Newington.  My dad loved nasturtiums, but never grew them because they would inevitably be covered in blackfly.  When we went on holiday in rural East Sussex, he went wild with envy at all the aphid-free nasturtiums in the gardens.  It seems as though blackfly like urban pollution.  I live in North Wales now, in a seaside town, and I have an elder in my garden, which gets lots of blackfly. They don't seem to cause the elder any problems.
  • FireFire Posts: 18,973
    A few years ago my elder was coated in blackfly. This year I can't see a one. Is the tree competing and right up against other trees?

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