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Aphids,ladybirds and

hi....last year we moved to a small village, and were lucky enough to have 3 well established apple trees. We moved in the late autumn so this is the first year that we have had to deal with trees that are "not dormant". We did have a tree surgeon in to prune them as   according to neighbours, not been pruned for several years. We enjoyed blossom in the spring and are excited to see our apples developing. But this morning I noticed that several of the leaves were rusty looking and curling. Closer inspection revealed grey looking aphids on the back of the leaves.....especially new growth following the pruning. There are also a number of ladybirds....I remember my late father who was a keen gardener always saying these were the gardener friend ...my question is do I just leave the ladybirds to do their job? Do I spray? And if so with what to not harm the ladybirds. Again my dad was a great believer in a mild solution of washing up liquid....but will this harm the ladybirds?   Fran

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  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653

    Yes it will & bees, washing up liquid won't discriminate. Leave the ladybirds to predate the aphids & attach bird feeders to encourage blue tits to help. image It's about achieving a balance of nature rather than spraying chemicals, in my opinion. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,121

    Washing up liquid is full of salt  - that's how it gets all the crud off your dishes. It can do a lot of damage  to tiny insects like ladybirds. A squirt of water from the hose, or from a small bottle with a squirty top, is the best solution for a heavy infestation, which can cause an issue during spring and early summer when fresh new growth appears, but attracting predators will help demolish them  image

    If you start feeding the birds now as Mark describes, they'll keep coming back. I have to fill my seed feeder every couple of days just now as the sparrows and blue tits, in particular, are constantly eating. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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