Ask a Question forum: Will these Trees die?

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Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Aug 2, 2017 7:02 AM CST
There is a nice growth of oak trees around my office parking lot that are so infested with aphid that every single leaf is very shiny with their tell tale poo. The asphalt under the tree canopy is shiny and sticky, so thick you can feel it grabbing the soul of your shoes, and the ant population has just blown up. You can even catch them dragging aphid around to different locations.

It gives me the heebyjeebies. I have never seen anything like it. In spite of the aphid, the trees seem to be growing ok, and the leaves are not terribly distorted. Co workers don't seem to notice the gooey leaves, but they are becoming alarmed by the large number of ants crawling everywhere. Will such an infestation prove lethal to these poor trees. Will it take months or years to become a serious concern? The trees are most likely on city property. In such a case, do cities treat such things, or will it take care of itself? Is it right or wrong to call them, to make sure they have the option to do something if they so choose.

Can anyone educate me as to the danger or lack there of, in such a situation.

Thank you!

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Aug 2, 2017 11:45 AM CST
The aphids won't kill the trees but they do make a mess. The ants are farming the aphids by hauling them around to new food sources and protecting them from predators. That means any good bugs that would control the aphids are long gone.

If the city owns the trees, I would give them a call and ask about spraying. You might find out that the trees belong to your landlord, if so, ask them to spray. In the spring, there is a systemic that our city uses to get rid of them before they start. Its a lot safer than spraying because it only targets bugs that suck. Well all bugs suck. I mean bugs that suck on your plants.

The heat of the summer usually takes care of aphid infestations. You must not be getting the heat.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
Aug 2, 2017 11:28 PM CST
Thank you @Daisyl. I learned about ants and aphid from growing roses in my first years of keeping up the yard. I stopped finding roses irisistable right on the spot. I think I will let the city know, with no expectations. I am Glad to learn the trees can handle the bugs ok.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Aug 3, 2017 12:41 AM CST
For a specific tree, a massive safer soap spray would get rid of most of the aphids. But I expect a good rain will help too.

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