Controlling Aphids On Plum Tree & Pruning Artemisia

Question:

Every year, we get Aphids on our flowering plum, tree. I’ve read that ants transport Aphids but I have never seen any ants in the area of these trees. What do I do to prevent the Aphids? Also the tree is struggling. Half the tree has finished flowering while the other half is still bare and the branches are brittle. Can this tree be saved and will any pruning help?   

Answer:

  • The Aphid problem is easy to solve. 
    • Once the leaves start to emerge be on the lookout for any leaves that are curling.  Once you see the curly leaf, spray the Plum tree with Insecticidal soap making two applications a week apart.  I’d then pick off the curly leaves and dispose of them. This should protect the trees from any further attack for the year.
  •  Aphids are inevitable on a wide range of plants. Even without the presence of ants, Aphids are mobile. They are present year round but it’s during the spring with the flush of new growth that they are the most active.
  • Your biggest concern should be the tree’s health. 
    • The section that has not leafed out and is brittle is probably dead so remove all it that growth. 
    • Next, step back and take a hard look at what is left to decide if it’s worth saving or if it needs to be replaced. It will take several years for it to recover.
    • Pruning will never cure what is ailing a struggling tree. Pruning only enhances the shape and form of trees and shrubs.
      • If you decide to keep the tree I’d then remove those branches that hinder the over shape of what’s left. 
      • This has to be a judgment call on your part. Next fertilizer with an all-purpose fertilizer to encourage the new growth and set up a regular watering schedule.  And finally, I’d  record the progress with a digital camera or smartphone                                   

Question:

I have several  plantings of Artemisia Powis. I understand that I'm supposed to prune them back in the spring to keep them full.  How much can I prune without damaging them?  I'd like to prune them so that I'm not having to trim them during the summer. They grow so fast and get rather leggy.          

Answer:

  • Artemisia Powis can be pruned back to the ground. You can use a string trimmer or a pair of loppers. The new growth will emerge from the base of the plant. You’re not going to damage them with a severe hair cut.