David C
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Ants on Fruit Trees

I have read about ants on fruit trees.... they harvest the poop from aphids, and this process is happening with some small cherry trees I have (about a foot tall).

I do not want to spray with any insecticides. Also, the trees might be too young to do much with. I read about spraying the aphids off with a hose and then adding Tanglefoot (made from pine resin).

Is this the way to go or does anyone have other suggestions?

Thanks!

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Kisal
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That's the way I handle the problem of ants and aphids on trees.

Sometimes, I don't bother with the tanglefoot, but just wash the critters off every other day or so. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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kimbledawn
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I just read about this! :D I was researching Diatomaceaous earth and one of the things mentioned was ants on fruit trees. The guy said that they sometimes use it mixed with water to "paint" the trees. heres the link


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQn6GSHNzBE

hope it helps! :D
"Organic gardeners always know the best DIRT!"

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rainbowgardener
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things ants don't like

See my post with the above title in this thread: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9437
for a list of ways to keep ants away from your tree

David C
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(Thanks for the info everyone.)

Regarding this....
rainbowgardener wrote:Another category is strong smelling things, including vinegar, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, peppermint oil or other mints, cloves, garlic. Sprinkle your strong smelling stuff on and around what you want to protect from the ants. (Be careful with the vinegar, don't put it on your plants, it can burn or even kill them, if directly on the plant)
Would planting mint around the base of my tree work the same? Or would the strong smelling variables need to be directly on the ground where the ants would travel.

I took a picture of my tree, but can I not upload a file to the forum?

I have a question regarding these pomegranate-colored bumps at the base of the leaves. It looks like the ants like these because they are dancing all around them. As Kisal mentioned, I tried to clean the tree with a toothbrush, but these pinkish bumps would not come off. Are these part of the tree or are these the aphids?

Another cherry tree I wound up ripping out of the ground had all these dark colored bumps on the underside of the leaves. As a result, the leaves curled sharply, and the tree's growth was stunted. Inside one of the curled leaves I found a huge black ant just hanging out. Was that ant harvesting the aphids, and are the aphids the dark bumps underneath?

Sorry for all the haywire questioning....

cynthia_h
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Please read the webmaster's helpful suggestions for navigating the site, starting focused, helpful discussions, and...posting photographs. They're all available at

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23

Welcome to The Helpful Gardener.

Cynthia H.
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!potatoes!
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re: those bumps at the base of each leaf: they're supposed to be there, and are present on all sweet cherry trees...they may be some sort of extrafloral nectary, if they really interest the ants.

re: diatomaceous earth, a class i took on apple production recommended using something like a latex paint, painting it on a several-inches wide band around the trunk, and kind of tossing d.e. on it while it's still wet - the outside surface gets a d.e. coat which stays for a long time, unlike a d.e./water deal which would rinse off every rain...granted latex paint's not the most 'organic' option, but perhaps there's some middle ground.

David C
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Thanks for the help.

First, I tried some cayenne pepper around the base of the tree... not much luck. But then I dumped a pile of coffee grounds right at the foot of the trunk. I went away for a week, came home, and the tree looks very healthy.

But these are good tips in case I need stronger measures!

[Edit] Scratch that! The tree is healthy but the ants are there.

I have another cherry tree... one year older and it looks as though its growth in the last month has almost been stunted. I see ants on the tree, but otherwise, not sure what's wrong.

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applestar
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The dark bumps are indeed aphids. These oily black aphids are worse than the light green ones or even yellow ones with black feet. The black aphids resist water blasts -- they might actually BE oily, I don't know. My cherry leaves curled up too. It turned out that even after aphids are eradicated, the leaves won't straighten back up. Even if the ants didn't bring back more aphids to pasture on those leaves, their stressed structure invited other munchers -- namely slugs and sawbugs -- so I found that it was more efficient to just clip the curled leaves with the aphids (and any nurse/shepherd ants) off and into a plastic bag for disposal. The tree grew plenty more leaves afterward.

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!potatoes!
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if we're talking about those bumps on the leafstem, just before the leaf fans out, that are frequently paired (one on each side of stem), i gotta insist that they're not aphids (not that aphids are never there, just that there are structures present on all the sweet cherry trees i've seen in my area that aren't aphids). having problems finding a photo of one online, but i might take one soon for help (in a couple days, i might be leaving town for a few)... frequently pinkish tinged in comparison with the green of the leafstem.

edit: found one:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/0Jt_tUf2LyYFcJdfc5hWuw

[Edited the extra-long link which was distorting the thread display - applestar]

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applestar
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I'm sorry about the confusion, I was responding to THIS part of his message:
Another cherry tree I wound up ripping out of the ground had all these dark colored bumps on the underside of the leaves. As a result, the leaves curled sharply, and the tree's growth was stunted. Inside one of the curled leaves I found a huge black ant just hanging out. Was that ant harvesting the aphids, and are the aphids the dark bumps underneath?
The reddish bumps near the leaf stems are definitely part of the leaf structure.

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!potatoes!
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ah. thanks for the clarification.

paul wheaton
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Ahhhhh ..... sugary aphid butt! It's the best! At least, that's what some sugar ants have told me.

Lots and lots of diatomaceous earth. Once you get rid of the ants, the aphid predators can come help you.

For the long term way): plant lots and lots of stuff around your trees that discourage ants. And while you're at it, plant some stuff that discourages aphids too. And as long as you're there, maybe plant some stuff that will make your fruit tree thrive, like some nitrogen fixers and some plants with deep taproots. Of course, this is a big part of what permaculture is all about - plant guilds!
Last edited by paul wheaton on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

David C
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Stunted Growth of Cherry Trees

I was looking up companion plants for the cherry trees and I saw that mint, garlic, and rue will help discourage pests.

It's a little late in New Jersey to plant herbs, though I did put down a whole lot of garlic a few weeks ago.

I have one two year old cherry tree (single trunk, about 3' tall) and a bunch of first year cherry trees (fewer than 10") that seem to have stopped growing. They clearly have a disease (some leaves have brown stain spots, while others have wholes and such). There are no new leaves budding from the tops of the trees, and the trunks are turning a paler brown.

With some research, I found this:
The bacterial canker disease first appears as yellow and green leaves discoloring. These leaves then fall off the cherry tree to reveal weakened limbs. Often the cherry tree leaves drop prematurely, but in some regions the leaves may discolor, then brown and wilt. Eventually these leaves will wither and may even remain attached to the cherry tree throughout the winter if they do not drop from the cherry tree in the fall. The bark of the cherry tree has lesions on it which often ooze an amber to yellow colored gum from their centers. This oozing of bacterial gum is most common in the seasons of spring, fall and winter.
The site suggested that once fall hits the reach, to "spray the cherry tree with a basic copper containing fungicide which will help prevent additional infection and keep your cherry tree healthy."

This may sound like a stupid question, but I am guessing a copper containing fungicide is not a natural product? Can I save these trees or should I rip them up and start new ones next year?

[In hindsight, I probably should have titled this thread "Issues with Fruit Trees" to open up possible discussions.]

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Kisal
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Those twin lumps on the leaf petiole of cherry trees are called extra-floral nectaries. The bees love them. Ants would, too, I suppose. :)

Many plants have them. On some, they are on the blade of the leaf. Even some cacti have them. :)
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I use copper for fungal disease and yes, it is considered organic in it's more basic forms I like [url=https://www.biconet.com/disease/copperSoapFungicide.html]copper soaps[/url], or copper octoanate; there are a bunch out there...

The whole of genus Prunus is fungal prone, so to do cherries is to require a strong back-up and copper has been mine. It helped me stave off a number of fungal issues this year that I could not manage with biologicals alone.

That said, for low level fungii like mildews I find milk and water to be most effective (1:3). Neem can be useful on fungus as well, and I always have some around. Copper is a fall-back for me after I have tried less harsh methods; heavy metals should always be used as little as possible to avoid build-ups (hurting the active fungal side of your soil).

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Scott Reil

David C
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It seems the tree's growth has been stagnant for some time now (maybe two months).... will it come back after the fall if I monitor its health more during the next growing season? Or at this point, is it on its way to.... [gulp] dying?[/gulp]

The Helpful Gardener
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Images would be good...[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3724]here's how[/url]...

HG
Scott Reil

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