Aphids are huge garden pests. They’re attracted to nearly any type of plant life, but over 4,000 aphid species across the globe mostly prefer trees. The tiny bugs suck the life from greenery. Finding out how to get rid of aphids on trees helps you protect your garden from severe damage.
Infestations are highly prevalent. While aphids feast on all garden plants, there are many species of aphids that are more likely to affect food crops and fruit trees. To kill them, you must first learn how to spot them.
Check your trees for aphid infestation by looking at the undersides of leaves. Infestations look like a large group of quarter-inch long yellow, black, red, green, or brown insects or notice a sticky substance on the leaves.
Aphids also hide at the root of plants with more tightly-packed leaves. Fruit trees like plum trees show aphids through curled leaves. Read on to learn how to kill aphids on trees and keep them away. Our tips are handy for all types of gardeners.
- How to Kill Aphids on Trees
- Hose Down the Trees with Water
- Spray Insecticidal Soap
- Repel Pests with Organic Neem Oil
- Spread Diatomaceous Earth in the Soil
- Apply a Reflective Mulch for the Warm Months
- The Best Home Remedy for Aphids on Trees
- How to Get Rid of Aphids on Trees and Keep Them Away
How to Kill Aphids on Trees
Aphids are a bane for gardeners worldwide. It’s important to get rid of any aphids, whether you have tomato aphids or those on your trees or milkweed. These annoying bugs can destroy a plant quickly.
To make sure your infestation is aphids, look for two horn protrusions near the back called cornicles and two long, slender antennae with small bumps at the base. These characteristics distinguish aphids from other garden pests.
These garden pests reproduce quickly and feed on your entire plant, including the leaves, sap, stems, roots, flowers, and fruit. When you notice the bugs, it could be too late to combat the problem.
Learn how to get rid of aphids on trees using our simple methods before severe damage occurs. Each of our options includes a home remedy for aphids on trees to prevent killing off the insects’ natural predators, which are beneficial in controlling the aphid problem.
Hose Down the Trees with Water
If you see aphids on your trees, hose them down immediately. A stream of water is usually all it takes to banish a minor infestation, whether in a tree or for eliminating aphids on hibiscus plants.
Use running water from a garden hose or a sprayer to rinse off the plants, including the undersides of every leaf. Repeat the process between a few days and two weeks.
Spray Insecticidal Soap
The best way to tackle aphids on apple trees or aphids on petunias is to reduce the numbers with insecticidal soap while predatory insects take out the population. Insecticidal soap with potassium salt or fatty acids kills aphids, but won’t harm plants.
Create a DIY insecticidal soap using a mix of soapy water in a spray bottle or purchase a mixture from your local garden center containing malathion or permethrin for fruit trees. Saturate the tree’s foliage thoroughly, and rinse with water from the hose to kill root aphids and other species.
Only apply insecticidal soap when temperatures remain between 30 and 90°F. Wear protective gloves and long sleeves for safety as well.
Repel Pests with Organic Neem Oil
Control aphids with a neem oil spray recipe. It’s a multipurpose garden tool and an organic pesticide that kills aphids, ants, and fungal growth. Neem oil even works as a bug repellent.
Combine neem oil with water in a spray bottle, following the instructions on the label. The best way to kill woolly aphids is to spray the leaves, branches, and stems of your trees with soapy water and follow by saturating with neem oil. The results show in a few weeks. Reapplication may be necessary after heavy rain.
Spread Diatomaceous Earth in the Soil
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is an effective aphid repellent. The finely powdered shells from diatoms in this mix slice crawling insects, but it’s safe for pets and people.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in the soil around the base of your trees. Dust the plants with it for a barrier. You need to reapply after rain.
Apply a Reflective Mulch for the Warm Months
Mulch plants for the summer with a reflective mulch cloth to repel infestations. The material deters aphids. Place the reflective cloth or mulch under your vegetable garden plants and fruit trees in the spring. Aluminum foil works as well.
The Best Home Remedy for Aphids on Trees
Soapy water is one of the easiest DIY tricks for pest control. The best home remedy for aphids on trees involves killing aphids with soapy water, especially citrus trees. Dish soap coats insects, smothering them.
Before spraying the plants with water, combine it with mild dish soap directly in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle well. Use it to spray both sides of the leaves and the whole stem.
Rinse the leaves of a lemon tree after a few hours to prevent burning. For severe infestations, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper. It further repels insects.
How to Get Rid of Aphids on Trees and Keep Them Away
The next step is preventing aphids from returning. Here are the main ways to deter aphids from trees.
Long-Term Prevention with Companion Planting
Growing certain plants helps you keep aphids away or attract them to another part of your yard, apart from the garden. Both are ideal ways to prevent pests over a long period.
Planting strong-smelling garlic, oregano, catnip, onions, sage, leeks, and chives near an infestation, for example, is a natural aphid repellent. Other plants like mint, fennel, yarrow, dill, and dandelion attract beneficial predators.
Feeding aphids specific plants they enjoy, such as nasturtium, zinnia, or mums, is ideal for organic aphid control. Keep these plants away from the garden to lure pests away.
Introduce Beneficial Pollinators to the Garden
Invite beneficial insects like ladybugs into the garden with flowers. Other natural enemies that help control aphid populations include lacewings and parasitic wasps, which also serve as a natural spider mite remedy and eat other pests like whiteflies.
Lady beetles eat their body weight in aphids each day, while green lacewings feed on the larvae from fruit trees. Parasitic wasps are especially sensitive to insecticides, so try using horticultural oil to reduce aphids without hurting these pollinators.
Birds also enjoy snacking on bugs. Encourage wrens if they’re nearby with small nesting boxes.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Preserving aphids’ natural enemies includes killing ants, which feed on the honeydew aphids produce. Ants and other insects that feed on sooty mold defend their food source against predatory insects. Getting rid of ants helps you with aphid control.
Prune small trees and plants away from the ground. Regularly pulling weeds from the garden and pruning fruit trees, where aphids like to hide, helps prevent infestations.
Spray Fruit Tree Leaves with Dormant Oil
Horticultural oil, also known as dormant oil, is an excellent tool for overwintering fruit trees. Spray plants with the oil during early November, monitoring your plants through the dormant period.
Apply it again when buds open on a plum tree or lemon tree. Use the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
Aphids are one of the most destructive garden pests. They affect nearly every type of gardener worldwide, and their tiny size makes them hard to spot.
But, with regular repellent measures and simple methods for controlling the situation, preventing infestations is possible. The trick is to avoid letting the bugs overrun your trees.
Stay ever-vigilant. We hope you enjoyed learning how to get rid of aphids on trees, and if our pest control tips help you, please share them with your friends and family on Pinterest or Facebook.