After the aphids

Through May and June black aphids were sucking the life out of the little wild cherry trees in the garden (funnily enough, they completely ignored the cultivated varieties).

The cherry aphids infest the underside of young leaves. They will keep on multiplying under the leaves and sucking them until they turn brown and crisp.
The cherry aphids infest the underside of young leaves. They will keep on multiplying under the leaves and sucking them until they turn brown and crisp.

These little suckers are almost certainly the black cherry aphid, Myzus cerasi. Their scientific name is apt as it more or less means a cherry sucker.

It is difficult to watch the destruction these aphids wreak. And it’s hard to believe that they won’t completely kill the trees they infest; especially if they are just young saplings. But, by and large, although these aphids make an unsightly and worrisome mess, cherry trees will recover.

By the end of June or early in July, the aphids will move on to their herbaceous wild plant hosts and leave the cherries with time to recover.

Now, in the third week of July, the aphids have left and the same cherry tree is putting on healthy new growth.
Now, in the third week of July, the aphids have left and the same cherry tree is putting on healthy new growth. The curled and crisped leaves damaged by the aphids are clear to see lower down the stem.

The bad news is that another generation of the aphids will come back in the autumn to lay their eggs on the cherry trees. Those eggs will sit there through the winter, ready to start the whole saga again the following spring.

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4 thoughts on “After the aphids”

  1. There are aphid “herds” on some of the pin cherries, a wild cherry, here but that’s good news to ladybugs and goldfinches which are feeding on the aphids. The aphids have caused the the leaves to curl and thicken, not attractive but part of nature. If the tops die the pin cherry will re-sprout from the roots so all is not lost. A similar leaf deformity occurs when aphids feed on hawthorns, too.

    1. That’s the key thing: not attractive but part of nature. And what’s “bad” for one thing is almost always “good” for something else. In the UK I think (hope) that we’re just moving on from the era of super-tidy, almost sterile, gardens.

      1. And lawns, too. Mine has plenty of grass but the other day I was looking at all the other plants in it (violets, red oxalis, creeping veronica, etc.) Looked like a groundskeeper’s nightmare and a bee’s paradise.

  2. HAVEYOU COULD LOOK FOR PARATIZED APHIDS? there’s an aphidius wasp that is a predator. may i suggest a good book to read? Jessica Wallisers book attracting beneficials
    to your garden.

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