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Once aphids have discovered an apple tree for themselves, we humans usually lose interest in the actually delicious apples, since the thought of the aphids causes disgust for many. But you should not throw in the towel so quickly, because well-known home remedies help to get rid of the plague.
Aphids are one of the most annoying pests in the garden, because they infest flowers, flowering shrubs and apple trees almost overnight. Since they are difficult to see with the naked eye, the infestation is usually only noticed when the tree is viewed from a certain distance.
The superfamily of aphids (Aphidoidea) belongs to the suborder of plant lice (Sternorryncha) in the class of insects (Insecta). Of the 3,000 known species, around 850 live in Central Europe. In this country, the apple tree is primarily on the menu of aphids from the tube aphid family (Aphididae), such as the
- Large rose aphid (Macrosiphum rosae)
- Apple Blood Louse (Eriosoma lanigerum)
- Green apple aphid (Aphidula pomi).
Aphids reproduce explosively because they can also reproduce asexually by means of parthenogenesis. Flightable offspring are usually only produced in the event of overpopulation or threat.Aphid infestation on a rose
Aphids suck the sap of one to three year old shoots. If older shoots or even the trunk are injured, these injuries are perfect gateways for the lice. Although the lice do not necessarily suck on the leaves, curled leaves are part of the damage picture of the apple tree, since the leaves lack the necessary nutrients.
The second unmistakable sign of an aphid infestation is honeydew, a sticky substance that the aphids excrete. Since it contains a lot of sugar, it is a magnet for other pests because the lice only absorb the protein from the plant sap.
Since the lice, as described, multiply explosively, you should fight them immediately so that the plague comes to an end at an early stage. Since the apple tree is a crop, insecticides should be taboo. Not only do they get into the human body via the apples, they also harm beneficial animals. It is therefore advisable to use tried-and-tested home remedies that do not harm humans or animals, as well as the settlement or promotion of natural predators.
In the fight against aphids, various home remedies help, which are usually prepared as a decoction or broth. Since apple trees are usually large plants, this in turn limits the variety of remedies.
Once you have garlic grown in your garden, you can use the leaves and cloves to control aphids. Simply wrap the leaves around the trunk of the apple tree. In the case of a stronger infestation, a garlic broth helps to get rid of the pests:
- Pour three liters of boiling water over 100 grams of chopped garlic
- Leave for about 30 minutes
- Strain the juice
- Leave to cool completely
- spray the tree with it
To make an onion broth, pour 5 liters of boiling water over 40 grams of chopped onions. The mixture should then steep for at least three hours. After that it is strained. When the onion brew has cooled down completely, you can spray the tree with it.
For a tansy broth, 1.5 kilograms of flowering tansy are mixed with 10 liters of water for 24 hours. After that, boil the mixture for about half an hour. Then strain the broth and let it cool. When the broth has cooled down completely, it can be applied to the apple tree. If the tree is too big to be sprayed, you can also water it with the tansy broth.
tip: With a mixture of tansy broth and wormwood tea you can fight the pests even more efficiently.
horsetail and nettle
A broth of horsetail or nettles is suitable for light infestations or for small apple trees. To make about 10 liters of brew you need 1 kilogram of the plants. Pour the boiling water over them. Then the brew has to steep for several days until no more foam can be seen. Finally strain and use it for spraying or watering.
When it comes to fighting aphids, ladybugs and earwigs are hobby gardeners' best friends, because these insects like to eat aphids. Both predators can now be purchased in specialist shops, or you can attract them with simple means, such as an insect hotel for ladybugs that you hang on the tree. Lure hyraxes into the treetops by filling clay pots with wood shavings and hanging them upside down just below the branches of the apple tree. Because for the earwig, these pots are an ideal home and breeding ground.
tip: When these natural aphid hunters are comfortable in your garden, a good balance will be established over the course of the summer.
Sprout spraying with rapeseed oil
The aim of the expulsion spray is to kill the eggs or larvae of the lice by coating them with a film of oil that takes the air out of the larvae to breathe or prevents gas exchange through the egg membrane. For this reason, oil-based agents, such as those based on rapeseed or paraffin oil, are used for sprouting. Also, you have to get the timing right. This is between the swelling of the buds and the first pushing out of the leaf buds, because this is the time when the pests are most susceptible. Depending on the weather, the period is between a few days and two weeks.
tip: Since beneficial insects also overwinter on the apple tree, you should only spray if the tree was infested with aphids in the previous year.
In addition to the home remedies mentioned, oregano and basil also help to get rid of aphids. However, these spices are only recommended for very young or small apple trees, since a relatively large amount of the herbs are needed for the production.Origanum vulgare, oregano
The soap covers the leaves like a film and prevents the lice from breathing. So they die off. While Kali soap doesn't contain any artificial fragrances, you should avoid this tried-and-true remedy if you plan to eat the apples.