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Aphids galore already in February & trying garlic

Aphids are building up already around my roses and arbutus unedo. I have put cloves of garlic around the base of the plants. Does anyone know if this will help? The garlic is from the supermarket and already sprouting due to it having been bought last year. Has anyone tried this? The blue-tits tend not to visit the roses as they are placed by the house, so cannot rely on them dealing with the aphids!
Where the Wild Things Are
 ...that is where I would prefer to be...
COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
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  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,021
    Try hanging a bird feeder nearby to entice them.  Once they have nestlings they should hoover up the aphids.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Obelixx said:
    Try hanging a bird feeder nearby to entice them.  Once they have nestlings they should hoover up the aphids.
    Thank you Obelixx for your thoughts. I will see if I can do that. Probably a tall ladder job but I would like to encourage more birds so will see if I can do that. 
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,465
    I thought the garlic was meant to be made into a spray, or is that for deterring slugs?
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,021
    It's often recommended to plant alliums of some sore near roses as the smell is supposed to detr aphids.  It wouldn't be the case this early on as any self-respecting allium is only just coming out of hibernation.

    Garlic spray is a good alternative but encouraging birds is the best bet - not so smelly - and works for me.   We feed the birds all year round and the sparrows and tits do indeed scoff all the aphids the hoverflies and ladybirds don't get.

    I'll be trying garlic spray on my hostas this year tho as slugs and snails had too much of a feast last year.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,894
    I agree with @Obelixx re the birds.
    I don't see the point of messing about with garlic sprays when a blast from the hose or water in one of those squirty bottles will do the same job.  :)

    I'd never be finished applying that for slugs either. It gets washed off in the rain. I just don't grow hostas - much easier. I can't stand the smell of garlic either which doesn't help  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • I was half-hoping the garlic scent from the cloves might deter further aphids. The rose stems are not too bad. However I think the aphids migrated from one rose stem down onto the potted arbutus unedo. I have moved the arbutus unedo away as it seems to be affected by scale (white dusty spots) as well as aphids. Some of the arbutus leaves have blackened with honeydew fungus I hink  and some of these levels have fallen . The arbutus is now under an ivy canopy which is visited by birds. I cannot move the roses so am hoping the smell of garlic might deter any more aphids from the roses. I am trying to garden with minimum intervention with no chemicals. I will leave the aphids for the birds rather than remove them. I do agree that enabling the birds & other predators to forage would be the holistic ideal. There is a body of water nearby so I hope the hoverflies will help out too when it gets warmer. I think the scale insects may be more problematic than the aphids. It is possible they arrived on the arbutus unedo which is a recent (bought about 5 months ago) addition. 
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • Yes good points @Fairygirl the garlic spray does not last long and I only want to deter the 'pests' not kill them! What a moral puzzle: save the plants or insects...hopefully it will balance out without too many casualties...
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,894
    It's a fairly simple choice as far as I'm concerned. In the right conditions, without adequate predators around, aphids will wreck your plants very easily. The soft new growth is an ideal food source. Once you have a balance between those and the predators [birds] it becomes easier. 
    Aphids multiply at an  astonishing rate, so you're not exactly wiping them out by hosing them off at this time of year either. Spells of mild weather promote that soft growth, but it also makes it easier for the aphids to thrive. That's just how it is. 
    I don't have loads of aphids until the sweet peas are growing well. Plentiful supply of blue tits though, which are by far the best predator.  :)

    Growing your plants 'hard' also helps. Many people over feed their plants, which results in lots of softer growth which is more susceptible. Feeding the soil is always better, and just some extra food for heavy flowering plants later on.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thankyou for your perspective @Fairygirl it does sound as if it could get out of control quickly. It has been fairly cold here on the south coast in England and so I was not expecting so many aphids already. The idea of hosing some of them is more palatable to me than other methods. The phrase "nip it in the bud" comes to mind and it would be better to be ahead of things before buds begin to form on the roses.I am glad you have blue tits to help especially if it means your sweet peas make it through. :)

    Yes I am growing the plants 'hard' . Do agree about feeding the soil rather than the plants.  I do have at least one pair of blue tits who forage several times in a day, so all is not lost.   B)
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • war  garden 572war garden 572 Posts: 662
    edited February 2023
    to deal with aphids i wet plant with water then dust with 
    all purpose flour wait 30 min then wash off. this trick works
     well with vegetable should work fine for roses. 
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