Artichokes and Ants

phawx(5-6)July 14, 2009

I have 3 Green Globe Artichokes planted out in my garden. This is their first year in the ground and seem to be doing okay. Given that I have no prior experience with this particular plant, and this is only my second year of gardening, I am basing that conclusion simply on the fact that they are still alive :)

I noticed that I also have 3 good size anthills, directly at the base of each artichoke plant. And of course ants crawling all over the plants. Now, I am no ant expert so I can't readily say what type they are. I can say they are the same tiny little ants that I see everywhere - my yard, my deck, my house. Little brown ants. I will take a better look tonight and see if I can identify or at least narrow down the possibilities.

So my question, should I be concerned about this? I can't imagine this is a good combination, but I could be very wrong about that and would love to know if any of you have any input on this situation. Seems logical to me that an anthill at the base of any plant would not bode well for the plant after some time.

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As a rule ants are not a problem, and ants are known to be predators of insect pests so they really are beneficial. If the ants are nesting where you have plants growing that usually means the soil they are nesting in is too dry and it needs to be thoroughly soaked and then the ants will move on.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 7:56AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ant hills, when located at the base of plants, can be very damaging. The nests can leave root systems high and dry. I'd try soaking the heck out of them to see if that works in encouraging them to pack their bags and move.

You might want to inspect your artichoke plants for aphids (which they are quite susceptible to), as well. The ants may very well have moved so close to be near a ready source of the sugary substance excreted by the aphids.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 1:35PM
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