Anyone else got woolly apple trees?


woolly aphids on apple treeLooks like I’ve stuck cotton wool on it does it! This is one of my apple trees and it is under attack………….

….from Woolly aphids – and just like common aphids, woolly aphids are sap sucking, so if they are left untreated they can badly damage the health of the plant.

They tend to strike apples and other orchard trees in late autumn and during winter. So keep an eye out for them!

The woolly (and rather waxy) white fluff that you see is secreted to protect the aphids underneath as they suck away at the goodness within the tree. This tree was badly damaged during the Christmas tree hail storms we had in Melbourne and the aphids have attacked all the “bruised” spots on the branches.

 How to control woolly aphids?

There are chemical controls available on the market that will target aphids and woolly aphids eg. confidor. Many of these controls are systemic – which means they are taken up by the plant, moved around the plants tissue and then when the pest sucks on the plant it dies. Unfortunately systemic controls can be harmful to beneficial insects too – like bees!

Organic control methods can also overcome an attack – but you need to be vigilant with application because you have to try and penetrate the woolly/waxy honeydew secreted by the aphids so you can reach them to kill them!!

I’ve had people tell me that they’d had success by wiping methylated spirits over the woolly spots. I’ll give this a go, but I am also going to try something recommended to me by the guys at eco-organic garden.

Organic Control Spray for Woolly Aphids: Mix 2ml of eco-oil and 2-3ml of eco-neem per litre of water and spray over the tree. Good coverage is essential. Do a follow up spray 7 days later.

I’ll keep you posted on the results!

Of course a healthy tree is also better able to withstand attack from pests, so I’m going to give this apple a dose of Seamungus to help it along.

Anyone else got some nasty critters eating or damaging things in the garden? Email me your questions/photos to or post to our FACEBOOK PAGE.


8 Responses

  1. Deborah

    A healthily growing tree is definitely less likely to be attacked by this nasty critter, also try planting comfrey plants under your fruit trees. The comfrey helps to provide nutrients needed by fruiting trees.

  2. Maree

    Am wondering if the 2 methods you mentioned had any effect on the woolly aphids?

      • rosi

        When you sprayed, were there still apples on your tree? We’ve spotted heaps of wolly aphids on our apples trees this year, but the apples are not yet ripe. Can we spray your recommended mixture of eco-oil and eco-neem now? Thank you for responding.

  3. Georgina Skipper

    I am fighting a woolly aphid infestation in a large (8m spread) Blenheim Orange apple tree (probably 150 years old). I have never sprayed in my garden but last year the WAA arrived – due to lichen, I didn’t realise what it was until it came back on its galls this year. We have had so few ladybirds/lacewings the last three years, despite insect houses and suitable planting (I just laugh when I hear that eating insects is the future – there aren’t enough for the birds round here) that I felt I had to spray the reachable sites with a systemic. This didn’t last, and instead I have been spraying with jet hose every couple of weeks, which washes them off. I hope this will prevent them completing their life cycle. I have also been “painting” the tree in autumn with kaolin paste, as I have read this can help prevent overwintering pests and it has lots of loose bark on its big boughs which I can’t remove.
    Any other ideas to cope with my old friend’s infestation would be welcome. I am pleased to say that the apples this year so far look clean and there are lots of them. The only advice I have found re future pruning is to do it regularly in the dry season, but I think I do this anyway.

  4. Norma Doueal

    Thank you. Yes the apple trees have wooly afhid .only just heard about it on ABC raidio yesterday I thought we may have had powdery mildew .At the moment it is poring very very heavy
    THANK you

  5. Vicky

    I have bee. Trying method for wooly aphid and last week tried eco oil on its own.
    They were back the next day
    Tonight I will try the berm as well


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