aphid control

CaraRoseJune 20, 2013

So aphids have been brutal this year. Realized yesterday that our rose of sharon shrub/tree (it's huge) in front of our house is infested. I blasted all branches within reach with water. I'm hoping to avoid pesticides since I saw a ladybug larva on there already (probably enjoying an all you can eat aphid buffet). Beneficials have been slow to emerge this year with cooler than normal temps, and I don't want to wipe out any now that I'm finally getting them.

What's my best bet here? Keep water blasting as best I can? I can't get to the top of the tree, but should I trim the new branch growth if it has aphids in the tips and dispose? Should I consider buying beneficial to release? My community association actually provides us with praying mantis eggs already, which I put in the back yard (seeing baby mantises in the garden now). I was thinking about lacewings and ladybugs.

Had this rose of sharon for over ten years. I've never seen an aphid on it in my life. Gah, this year is the year of the aphid.

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Aphids are attracted to plants with lush growth and often that is from applications of too much Nitrogen. Keep in mind that the Aphids you knock off with that water spray do not return, but the next generation does move in and since Aphids can start reproducing almost as soon as they are born. Just keep knocking the Aphids off with your water spray and do not trim off new growth simply because there are Aphids on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Aphids

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 6:53AM
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It's not from application of fertilizer, since we never have fertilized this tree... well probably ever. It does have lush growth at the moment, it always explodes with growth in late spring like this.

My main concern is the ones in the tips, since those don't come off well with water blasting, since they're in a little cup of growth and are hard to get off the branches I can reach to hold steady in the stream, much less the ones up near the top that I can't do much about.

I am seeing more beneficial, hopefully they'll catch up to the aphids soon. Watched some sort of white larva (white with fluff, sort of like a mealy bug) move up and down a leave bud on an all he can eat aphid buffet. Also saw a pupating ladybug.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 8:37AM
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Does the lawn nearby this tree get "fertilized"? Many times cause and affect are not very obvious, but I have seen trees adversly affected by "weed" killers that have been sprayed on nearby lawns.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 7:29AM
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The lawn is about 8' away, the rose of sharon is next to the house (too close to the house, really), shares the space with a juniper bush and a dense mat of hostas. Grade slopes away from the tree to the lawn. It doesn't get any run off from the lawn, but it may have roots that reach under it.

We haven't been watering out front at all, but have had high levels of rain this year.

The lawn did get a dose of weed & feed. My dad (passed last August) loved the stuff so we had it in the garage. Had some kind of speedwell taking over the lawn this spring, and didn't have enough time to do research for better methods so I put some down in late May.

The aphid infestation is starting to look better. I'm seeing lots of beneficials now-- several lady bugs, lady bug pupa, mealy bug destroyer, and at least three lacewing larva so far. I'm less concerned now, since it appears they're getting things under control. Hopefully they'll move to my garden and clean the aphids off my tomatoes once they're done with the rose of sharon.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 9:25AM
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