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I’m trying to be as wildlife friendly as possible with my gardening but some of my plants are being attacked by aphids. Will they be OK or is there something I can do to stop them being too damaged?
I’m not so bothered about the foxglove, more my espalier apple tree.



  • debs64debs64 Posts: 4,904
    I use the jet fitting on the hose and wash them off. Safe for other insects and environmentally friendly. And hope for ladybirds 🐞 
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 2,857
    @joe.shimmin  Hi.  I don't know if this is a year for aphids but there are many down here too.  Cool spring - muggy weather?  Hard to say, but here they are.  

    Solution:  (And this is what I did).  First washed them with water and fingers and tried to squash them and wash them away.  Water blast them with a jet of the hose and squeezed through the fingers as well.  Spray them with grated soap (not household detergent) melted in some hot water (to melt) add cold water.  Final desperate attempt - sprayed with water and neem oil (not the ready-made up solution that you can buy)  I dosed at 5ml/1litre water.  After many googl-ing attempts,  it seems that they need to be smothered and choked thus the oily solution.

    OR - just pray that there is a swarm of ladybirds in the vicinity that will swoop down and have a feast.  Ants like aphids too apparently (it's the sticky stuff they like) as do birds.

    Did I have any success?  Still pending .....!!  I only sprayed 3 days ago - I think!!
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,132
    Ants "farm" aphids and will defend them against ladybirds and lacewings and hoverflies because they want their sweet, sticky, honeydew secretions for their colony.

    All the above jet spray and squishing methods are good while you wait for the predator good guys to come and hoover them up, both adults and their young.  Birds such as sparrows and tits will also take them to feed their nestlings - llots of lovely juicy protein.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 211
    Thanks guys. I feed the birds in my garden so I wonder if they would bother with the aphids when they have easier pickings. I’ll try washing the things off with my hose.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,132
    Adults love the fat balls, seeds and peanuts and it gives them energy to make better eggs, build better nests and go foraging for insects for their young.  They need juicy insects for the moisture as well as the protein and they don't have any other water till they learn to fly and can feed themselves. 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 211
    I see, thanks. I had a good time blasting the aphids off my apple trees with the hose but left plenty on the fox gloves in my wildflower patch for the ladybirds and the birds.
  • JellyfireJellyfire Posts: 1,139
    Its a bit of a catch 22, if you blast them off you will be depriving their predators of a feast, so you are less likely to get the predators. If you leave them they can decimate the plant. We used to get loads of aphids, but I have completely left them to it for the last 7 or 8 years, and now I barely ever see them, and if I do they disappear pretty quickly. We have lots of wild meadowy type planting so I think the much coveted balance has been achieved, but there were a good few casualties along the way (especially lupins which they LOVE!)
  • joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 211
    Thanks, I am going for the balance too. I’m in it for the long game. Love seeing wildlife in the garden just don’t want too much damage!
  • CrazybeeladyCrazybeelady Posts: 650
    Aphids loving lupins is an understatement!!  They are the absolute bane of my life at the moment.  I had aphid infested lupins last year and ended up removing them all because it annoyed me so much.  But I didn't actually remove them all - a few were small and hadn't grown much or got infested, so they stayed.  This year they were loving life, got really big and healthy...then the aphids moved in.  The worst plant (also the best in terms of size and flowers) is just smothered - all aphid and no stalk!  Each morning I'll go out and squidge them - but now the flowers are out, they're all in between the petals and I can't get to them.  When the flowers have gone, I may just cut back, ready to dig up and palm off onto someone else for next year!!  I gave one to my sister, it had a few aphids on that I had picked off, but thought I was bound to have missed some.  Yet she now has a happy, aphid free plant, grr!  I refuse to grow lupins anymore! 
  • joe.shimminjoe.shimmin Posts: 211
    I’ve got loads on my fox gloves. I’m jetting them off every day as I’ve waited 2 years for them to come up. I didn’t realise what damage they could do. My apple trees are looking quite sad! Should I pick off the damaged leaves do you think?
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