Acer p. and pests

Discussion in 'Maples' started by sluggo, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. sluggo

    sluggo Active Member 10 Years

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    We have an Acer P. Osakazuki. The leaves bloomed a few days ago and yesterday we noticed a lot of bugs on the leaves. They look like ants, I didn't notice any wings on them - maybe they're aphids. It looks like they're nesting in some of the leaves that are folded up, I think there was larvae there. I pinched as many of these bugs as I could (our tree is young) and sprayed it with soapy water. This morning I see that they are still there so I guess the soapy water didn't do much. We plan on planting some plants that will attract beneficial insects (buckwheat, dill, etc ??).

    How much harm can these bugs cause the maple in the meantime, and are there any other techniques I can employ against them? How important is it for me to get rid of all these bugs immediately (ie I can spend a hour hand-picking the bugs).

    cheers
     
  2. sluggo

    sluggo Active Member 10 Years

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    I'll partially answer myself here...

    The larvae are actually aphids. The ants are hearding them to the end of the branches, and are eating their poop (otherwise known as honeysuckle). I'll continue to squish the aphids, look for an ant nest, attract ladybugs, drink beer and watch NHL playoffs. Maybe I'll even have some pizza.
     
  3. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    uhm, aphids are not the larvae, aphids dont have a larvae stage. Ants are eating or harvesting the frass or honeydew not honeysuckle. and the playoffs are good to us tonight, go Canucks. :)
     
  4. sluggo

    sluggo Active Member 10 Years

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    I should have a had a few more of those beers. I meant the larvae weren't larvae but actually they were aphids. Should be a good game tomorrow night!
     
  5. adeyboy

    adeyboy Member

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    Me again......

    Ignoring the hockey remarks here, I have the same dark 'bugs' on my Osakazuki.
    Should I be delaing with them do you think?

    Adrian
     
  6. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Ants eat the aphids, so if you notice ant activity there could be aphids. I'd get rid of the aphids: they can ruin the leaves if not dealt with. You say you want to attract beneficial insects, so i guess you don't want to use chemicals. I've used 'biological' methods, meaning a spray containing a mineral that asphyxiates the aphids that are there - they seem to work just as well.
    About handpicking: this might work with aphids, but next in line could be scales, for instance. (Scales 'ate' one of my shirasawanum aureums last year.) Unless someone has another idea you cannot get rid of scales by simply removing their shell, so look into spraying, and products that do less harm to 'innocent' insects.
     
  7. adeyboy

    adeyboy Member

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    I have not noticed any ants............... there are simply small black, wingless little critters clustered in the folded leaves (not all leaves though).

    I'll use anything necessary to get rid of them (in theory) if that's what I need to do. Can you recommend a product to eliminate them.

    Oh, what are they... any idea?

    Thanks again,
    Adrian
     
  8. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Aphids, probably, since you say clustered. If in doubt, take a picture and post here, or cut a leaf, put in plastic and take to a specialty garden store. I can't recommend a specific product (I used Bayer, Fertiligene, others...) that would help, since we don't live in the same parts of the world, but go to any store that specializes in garden products, and they can help you. Aphids are not difficult to get rid of, but they'll come back every year in the spring. Stick with the recommended dosage, and the usual precautionary measures if you use a chemical. As I said watch out for scales, and other critters that could be a problem in your area: again a store could help you, or a grower, or a neighbor who knows.
    There are also applications (oils) that you use over the winter to eliminate the problem before it occurs, but I haven't used them. May be someone can chime in whether these applications are worth it.
    Again, if you wish to protect certain beneficial insects you could use a biological product, again in specialty stores.
     
  9. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

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    I commonly see black wingless aphids on the tips of maple trees. I never known them to do much long term damage, just real ugly and sticky. Up untill the past few years I've always used diazinon, instant gratification as long as you mix it very weak. Now I use safers soap, It seems to work well as long as you get good coverage. But always beware of burning, and safers soap is nasty if mixed at full suggested rate on a hot sunny day. It is my opinion that if you can reach then with your garden hose pressure a few times, you should be able to set them right back. And if you do nothing at all, they only seem to last a month at the most anyway. As far as biological products go the only one I know of is BTK, and it is for chewing insects, not sucking. This is just a suggestion from my expierences. Jim.
     
  10. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Schusch,

    Technically ants don't eat the aphids...that would be a good thing, but they don't. Instead like jimmyq said they eat the honeydew...aka, aphid poop. Thankfully aphids are easy to spot as they congregate on tender new growth to suck on the plant's juices. Mostly they do little harm if controlled, but if their numbers are allowed to increase they can cause harm to the plant. Aphids multiply by bearing live young...and they don't need sex to do this! So, aphids can increase their numbers very quickly. Aphids come in different colors. Some are black, green, orange, etc. One really serious thing aphids can do is spread disease. The ahpids I'm experiencing this year piggybacked on an azalea and as soon as my Shindeshojo started leafing out the aphids moved over to it. One thing you have to remember is that some diseases can have no ill effect on a certain plant, but once it's transferred to, say a maple can wreak havoc. From what I've gathered azaleas can harbor verticillium, though show no signs of it's effect.

    I've been using diluted solution of Simple Green to control the aphids this year and it works well. The key is to spray every day or every other day for a week or two so you can make sure you get them all. Safer brand insecticidal soap should work well too, but Simple Green is cheaper and seems safe for most plants. I've used it on my maples, azaleas, mandarin tree, succulents, etc. and I haven't had a problem with it yet.

    Stay away from oil based insecticides with regard to maples. The oil will in a very short time burn up the tender new growth and over a longer time dry up older growth. I mistakenly used a garlic oil based spray on my Shindeshojo and only realized my mistake a few minutes later. I immediately sprayed Simple Green on the leaves to wash off the garlic spray, but the after a few days I can see that the damage was already done. The leaves I sprayed are deformed or drying up.

    Last year I had an aphid problem on my azaleas. One little ladybug visited my balcony and went to town feasting on the aphids. Doing nothing on my part the aphids were all gone. This year I had no such luck having a ladybug come and take care of my aphid problem. OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) does sell live ladybugs if you want to go that route. Also there are mailorder sources for live ladybugs...just do a google search on "live ladybugs". Keep in mind that after all the aphids are gone the ladybugs will move on. Ladybugs are a good way to control aphids. You can watch a ladybug go from one aphid to the next without stopping to rest.

    As far as scales the only time you can kill them with a spray is when they are in the crawling stage and haven't made their protective shell. Though I hate using chemical insecticides the only real good solution against scale is to use a systemic insecticide. I prefer systemics over sprays. If watered in systemic insecticides are the least destructive to beneficial insects and do a good job at keeping sucking and leaft chewing insects off your plants. Just be sure to keep pets and children away from the treatment site for a few days and from eating the leaves.

    Here's a good site on some pests:
    http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/entomology/ornamentals/slideshow.html

    Layne

     
  11. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi, Layne-

    ladybugs eat aphids - I knew someone was doing that! ;)

    The scales worry me most, since I think scales killed one of my trees (a shirasawanum aureum) last year. I used systemic chemicals for scales that worked - but I used them as a spray. Will check into systemics that are watered in. The biological control I used on aphids supposedly spare the ladybugs.

    Thanks for the info and the link.
    All best,
    Schusch
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Errr, now, would that be . . .
    Acer paxii ?
    Acer pectinatum ?
    Acer pensylvanicum ?
    Acer pentaphyllum ?
    Acer pentapomicum ?
    Acer platanoides ?
    Acer pseudoplatanus ?
    Acer pseudosieboldianum ?
    Acer pycnanthum ?

    Or maybe even Acer palmatum ?
     
  13. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Schusch, I was wondering what biological spray you were using for aphid control? thanks Jim.
     
  14. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi, jimweed-

    I'll need to get back to you on details in a week since I am not at home right now. It was a mineral, as far as I remember. I bought the product in France, but can't remember the name.

    I'll let you know.
    schusch
     
  15. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Schusch,

    Bayer sells two types of systemic insecticide that I think are good. one is a liquid that you mix in a watering can and water in. The other is a slow release granule form that's also a fertilizer. I'd use the liquid form for maples as the fert. is too strong in my opinion (too much nitro). Be careful using it in potted plants as the insecticide will leach from the pot. I'd use a plastic saucer and some large pebbles in it to raise the pot a bit so it's not sitting in water. Remember too not to use systemics on fruit bearing trees as the insecticide will go into the fruit and into you...

    Layne

     
  16. PoorOwner

    PoorOwner Active Member 10 Years

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    I think it's a little much chemicals to kill aphids. You can just lightly press on the leaves and the aphids will be crushed. But this year I didn't even do this, I bought a can of lady bugs, wet the foilage at night and release them. Within a few days the aphids population are decreased significantly, which were on maples, roses, herbs.

    I bought a Japanese maple that is heavily infested with aphids and the lady bugs cleaned it pretty good within 24 hours.

    The lady bugs are sort of gone now but I did see them mate so maybe I will see larve soon, which also will eat aphids.
     
  17. schusch

    schusch Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Jimweed -

    I spoke a bit too quickly: I am sitting in front of the bottle, but it doesn't say anything else than : 'mineral oil'. It's a French product, and they are usually strict EU guidelines as regards having to write what's exactly in such products, but here the description doesn't go very far. (The maker is BHS, in case anyone knows more.) It works by contact.
    There are other products on the market using other than chemical methods.
    Sorry this wasn't more precise.
    Schusch
     
  18. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    Doesn't anyone use good ol' organophosphates anymore? I guess I'm a little old school but I use Orthene and get good results. It's got a broad label, is effective, systemic, provides good control for root weevels and I have stocked up on it.
     
  19. jumbojimmy

    jumbojimmy Active Member

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    omg! i have the same problem like you to my poor seiryu tree. it was so beautiful when i first bought it. i potted it in this glazed pot and left it outside. few months later, i noticed outside my window something was moving up and down on the tree. as i got out and have a look - there were hordes of ants infesting on that poor tree.

    these ants were so scary - they run so fast.

    few weeks later, these creatures - i think they were ants - i never seen ants that big - but anyway, the foliage of my seiryu plant had been destroyed.

    i thought this tree was going to die... i dig the tree out and replanted it in a different sol and left it in the neglected area.

    to my amazement - the tree rejuivenate next spring. it's a miracle.
     
  20. Daniel Otis

    Daniel Otis Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    My experience is like Jimweed's. I sometimes see aphids on my maples in spring, always tended by ants, but within a month or so they are pretty much gone. I think that ladybugs are the savior.

    I have sometimes had a problem, not with aphids, but with the ants that tend them. Quite a few times I've noticed a tree declining for a year or two, and when as a desperate measure I repot it--I grow most of my trees in pots--I find that the soil is home to a flourishing ant colony. I'm not sure how the ant colony harms the tree, but I'm pretty sure it does.

    In general, I haven't had any insect problems with my maples, and I don't use any chemical insecticides. I lose trees to fungus diseases sometimes, but insects haven't been a problem.
     

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