jellyfish
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How to Prevent Aphids on Cherry Tree?

Hi, i have a 5 year old cherry tree and each year i get the same problem. It gets completly stunted by blackfly, this usually starts with a mass of black eggs under the leaves and just pretty much takes it over and stunts it. My question is, is there anything i can buy to prevent this or a spray i can use that wont be harmful for the cherries?..thx in advance for any replies

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applestar
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They are what we call aphids. I think we're talking about the same thing -- I also get the black oily kind -- what you are describing as eggs -- on the cherry leaves. They cause the leaves to curl and deform permanently.

I don't want to spray chemicals and these are resistant to being sprayed off with hard sprays of water. So far, my best results have been obtained by simply squishing them as soon as I find them-- The curling leaves give them away. It's easier to do with an application with hand sprayer of dilute soap solution first. Rinse with water afterwards to minimize damage to tender new leaves.

Also, be careful not to spray or squish ladybug larvae/adult. I occasionally uncurl a leaf to find them already hard at work. :wink:

JONA878
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If Stars methods do not work then next year you may have to spray.
However....by the time you see the leaves curling over it may be too late to get at the little blighters.
You have to hit them at a very early stage in their life span. This means looking out for them much earlier in the season..uaually very soon after the blossom has dropped and then at the first sign of any adult aphids appearing hit them with a spray of Soap solution. ( Surfactant )
Repeat every ten days until you are sure the tree is clear.
This will not harm the tree and leave most other ' goodies ' undamaged.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

jellyfish
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ok, thx for replies i will try this today. Yes i definately think they are what you call aphids because last year they stunted the leaf growth curling the leaves as you said. Heres hoping ive got this early enough this year

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applestar
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I was just outside looking at my plants and JONA was right. The cherry blossoms finished a few days ago and the aphids are here! :x

You can turn the tables on them and use ants to locate them. If you see ants marching up and down your cherry tree, it's a sure sign that the aphids are there... Somewhere. Follow the ants and they'll show you where the first aphids are hiding. :twisted:

jellyfish
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I really investigated the tree today and i think the problem is bad. I have the underside of ALOT of leaves that are close to being a black mass of aphids and eggs. I sprayed as many as i could with the warm soapy water but ive a funny feeling im too late. Ive also noticed now that the tree is nearly fully leaved that the top 2 or 3 inches of quite a few branches havent budded and leaved this year. Would this be to do with the aphid issue or seperate?

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applestar
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Make sure you rub them off as you spray. The soapy water helps, and they are weakened if not entirely killed so that when you come back with plain water to rinse them off, what you missed or was hard to get at will come away easily.

I haven't tried it but applying sticky trunk wrap may help trap the ants that shepherd the aphids.

Before I realized I had to "get physical" I tried jet spraying with water and clipping off entire leaves and disposing them. I ended up nearly defoliating the tree but after I finally got the aphid situation under control, the tree grew replacement leaves. I'm sure it set the tree back a bit, but it did fine for the rest of the year.

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Re: How to Prevent Aphids on Cherry Tree?

I wrapped electrical tape around the trunk sticky side out. I overlapped it in a spiral to cover an inch or two. captured a few thousand aphids overnight who got stuck on it. Also stopped the ants going up and down. Now just waiting for the ladybugs to breed up, there are a few around and a few clusters of their yellow eggs.

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applestar
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Re: How to Prevent Aphids on Cherry Tree?

Hey that's a great tip! :D Do you get the oily black aphids?

What time of the year did you put the tape on? Maybe express it in terms of what stage the cherry tree was at -- I'm thinking maybe shortly after leaves unfurled? Before or after blooming?

Also, I would think you'd need to remove the tape at some point, right?
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JONA878
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Re: How to Prevent Aphids on Cherry Tree?

May I just add a word of caution to the sticky band question.
The traditional reason for 'banding' a tree was to get at the winter moth as she climbed a fruit tree to lay her eggs on the newly opening flower trusses so that her offspring could eat the young leaves and emerging fruit clusters.
This moth sheds her wings in the winter to hibernate in the soil around the trees base. So her only way of reaching her destination is to climb the trunk. The band does its job and she gets stuck.
As you say it also works on the ants that want to get at the honeydew that the aphids are making.....but...you will also be catching the ladybird( ladybug) larvae as they climb the tree too as they are also non flyers. So it can be a double edged sword.
So it would pay to inspect the bands regularly to make sure that they are only catching the things that you want them to.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

Teddz
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Re: How to Prevent Aphids on Cherry Tree?

The aphids have just wiped out this year's cherry crop so I'm seething. If they restricted their activities to the leaves it wouldn't be so bad but to see them sitting in the stems of the cherries sucking away has got me annoyed. The tree looks unhealthy so they've brought something virus like, with them.

Wanting to get even rather than madder I've worked out that an environmentally friendly spray is far better than spraying them with some chemical. So, I mixed olive oil with 99% Isopropyl alcohol (50%/50%). I shook the small spray bottle quite well and sprayed away. It killed them off completely. There's been no signs of any aphid life for two weeks now and the cherry tree looks slightly shiny where the olive oil has lingered.

The Iso just thins the olive oil so it will come out in a very fine spray. You have to keep shaking as it will separate without an emulsifier (I suppose you could use egg white for that).You could use any other spirit and I think next time I'll use vodka although you'd have to use 75% vodka to 25% olive oil. The Iso evaporates pretty much instantly and leaves a very fine film of olive oil that stops the aphids from breathing.

I reckon that as you can eat the olive oil it can't do that much harm and the Iso vanishes in less than a minute on a warm day. In about a week the oil will oxidise so I reckon it's a safe method. It's certainly effective.

JONA
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Re: How to Prevent Aphids on Cherry Tree?

jellyfish wrote:Hi, i have a 5 year old cherry tree and each year i get the same problem. It gets completly stunted by blackfly, this usually starts with a mass of black eggs under the leaves and just pretty much takes it over and stunts it. My question is, is there anything i can buy to prevent this or a spray i can use that wont be harmful for the cherries?..thx in advance for any replies
Black aphid that attack cherries start very early in the season. By the time you see the leaves curling and the mass of aphid inside the curled leaves it can be very difficult to get at them or find a spray that will deal with them as by then it will have to be systemic in its action.
If you can, spray the tree with one of the winter oil washes in the winter months as this will reduce the number of overwintering eggs.
In the early spring as the leaves start to open spray with something like a pyrethrum spray a couple of times before their numbers can build up.
The cherries won't be affected this early in the season and you should find that this will give you good control.
John

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