Peony/ tea rose - Knowledgebase Question

Durham, NC
Avatar for tigerlily530
Question by tigerlily530
April 27, 2007
Should I be concerned if I have red ants all over my peony bush? How do I get rid of the ants?

My tea rose has done great but I have been noticing yellow leaves. Is that because of of fertilization?

thanks have a great day.

Answer from NGA
April 27, 2007
I wouldn't try to get rid of the ants on your peonies. This is a natural and temporary activity. It is believed that peonies produce small amounts of nectar and other ant attractants to encourage ants to help in opening the dense double flower buds found in many peonies. The ants may be found covering certain varieties and avoiding others, this is totally normal.

Once the buds have opened the ants will usually disappear - also normal. Some people think ants are REQUIRED to open the flowers, but this does not to appear to be true.
It seems a debatable question whether ants are beneficial or harmful. I think they are neutral. Should you spray a pesticide to get rid of the ants? I would say not. Since the ants are not harmful and some pesticide residues are harmful, why endanger yourself, the plants or the peony's pollinators (good insects) with poisonous sprays? Instead just enjoy the unique interaction of ants and peonies; an evolutionary effect thousands of years in the making and posing no problems in the long run.

Yellowing leaves on your tea roses can be a sign that they need to be fed. Roses are heavy feeders, so put them on a regular feeding schedule and they should be fine.


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