Looks 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or post to our FACEBOOK PAGE.