After the mixed weather during this summer my vegetable and fruit garden had varied success, with some plants growing better than others. Woolly aphids attacked my apple trees, huddling in the young stems that grew after the neat pruning I carried out last winter.
Woolly aphid appear like fluffy, cotton wool covering the bark and stems. As with all aphids they excrete sticky honeydew which sometimes encourages black, sooty mould. Plants which are commonly affected are apple, pear, prunus, crab apple, pyracantha, cotoneaster, elm, hawthorn and mountain ash trees. Having previously seen these pests on cotoneaster I recognised them early in the season.
Damage from the feeding aphids can cause canker and the young overwinter in cracks in the bark. There are several treatment options:
Chemical treatment which contains Pyrethroids and Pyrethrin.
Note: It is important to read manufacturer’s instructions for use and the associated safety data information before applying chemical treatments.
Organic treatment to include checking tree shoots and bark; scrubbing areas within easy reach with a brush and a bucket of soapy water; spraying infested areas with a firm jet of water to help reduce aphid numbers; spraying with natural fatty acids such as an insecticidal soap.
The parasitic wasp Aphelinus mali will attack aphids above ground level. Aphid predators such as ladybirds, aphidoletes, hoverflies and lacewing larvae can be encouraged by providing suitable overwintering sites and by growing flowers which attract them.
My herbaceous border which I planted in the autumn of 2014 is now full of colour and ground cover. As the shrubs continue to grow height will develop creating seasonal structure. Jobs for the autumn and winter period include:
• Enjoy the last late-summer colour of the year and attractive seed-heads which are on display.
• Plant spring bulbs before the first frosts.
• Tidy and trim perennials as the autumn ends.
• Plant bare root shrubs, roses, hedging plants and trees.
• Clear leaves and compost them if possible. Have a wonderful season and look forward to next year.