With no cherry on top- Black Cherry Aphid.

I was delighted yesterday when I caught a glimpse of our cherry tree from the bathroom window and saw what looked to be small fruit jumping out from within the leaves. I rushed out to investigate and was not disappointed:

Cherry - Stella
The tree is still very young, last year it gave us two cherries. Two! Much to my daughter's disgust when she heard how I consumed them upon discovery. They looked so delicious, I just couldn't resist!

This year I was so pleased to see several more than two, no big harvest by any means, but still enough for each person to taste!

But wait, what was this? A patchy black spot underneath one of the leaves? And then another? And then so many leaves I couldn't believe my good fortune had suddenly plummeted to a plague of monstrous proportions. An unidentified pest. Ugh!

Black Aphids

I felt so violated!!

And there were more of them....

.....and more............................................


Not knowing exactly what they were (the diagnosis didn't come until later that evening), I reached for the hose and sprayed them off. Every last one I could spot. I would love to know what my neighbour was thinking as he saw me hosing down my cherry tree in the rain (!) after we had just received 5 inches of rain over the weekend! Really, what a sight that must've been.

Aphids suck the sap out of the leaves of several plants and I am stumped as to why they chose my cherry. There is a perfectly attractive rose bush just around the corner, I would be more than happy if they took that on! I will continue to manually remove them as I find them, perhaps try a (homemade) soap spray and hope for the appearance of some ladybirds soon....

I really DO want to share those cherries this year! Honest!!

Comments

  1. Christine, if you have an aphid problem there must be ants around! Ants farm aphids and if you can deal with the ants then half the battle is one.

    Coffee grounds around the base of the tree will deter the ants. A citronella and garlic spray should deal with the aphids.

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  2. Horrible little buggers! Hope you get them, Chris, I really want you to get cherries this year too! :)

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  3. We get major aphid infestations on broad beans and on our cardoons and artichokes. This year the ladybirds ate nearly all of them but we also did a fair bit of dilute soap spraying. They reproduce so fast. I hope you cn control the ones on your baby tree, sometimes they go of their own accord, young tender leaves of any flowering plant seem to attract them, no rhyme or reason. But we are not growing broad beans next year!

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  4. YES Wendy!! There are SO many ants at the base of the tree and I noticed them travelling up and down the trunk. Will definitely be diverting hubby's coffee grinds from compost to here now, thanks!!
    Did I say how many ants? SOOOO many!!

    Thanks Celia, me too. I feel so guilty for scoffing the last ones!

    It's so hard to make sense why they chose this tree, Jo. No sooner do I get them all off, then they are back again a day or two later! So frustrating!! We didn't grow broad beans this year either, not because of the aphids though (although they did suffer from chocolate spot), but because I was the only one eating them! No ladybirds around yet..hoping they arrive soon! :)

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  5. The ants travel up our birch trees in the spring and bring blackfly with them, no idea what they get out of it - we have taken to putting the sticky glue stuff round the base of the trees which acts as a barrier. I don't know what it's called but it is quite effective. The ants apparently move the baby aphids around to farm them, they eat the milky sticky stuff the aphids produce, sort of farming. They also take baby aphids down into their nest and look after them down there and then bring them 'upstairs' in the spring! I read up about aphid reproduction last year. They reproduce asexually as well as the regular way, hence their success. Might be worth gluebanding this tree?

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  6. Yes, thanks for this, Jo. I've been reading up on them and it's quite cunning what those ants get up to. That is fascinating that they care for the baby aphids over winter! As the tree is still very young, I think the band would need to go on a piece of cardboard or paper instead of directly on the trunk...must try and hunt some of this sticky stuff down. I was thinking that maybe a homemade band could be made too...with ingredients from the kitchen..? Although I did come across someone using 'contact' plastic covering with the sticky side out. Might give that a go.... :)

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  7. http://www.greenharvest.com.au/pestcontrol/horticultural_glue_prod.html

    This looks like the sort of stuff ? Homemade band sounds good, as long as the sticky part doesn't dry out too quickly. x Joanna

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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