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My apple tree has lots of white cotton like substance n it's branches. Is this fungus or aphids? How can I get rid of it. I've never had it before. Will it come back next year?

will it damage my apples?

white cotton as in cotton wool or white cotton as in thread? If cotton wool, then I think you have woolly aphids. You can get rid of it by waiting and it will go away of its own accord. I don't think you should worry too much about it.


Hi Gracie, it is woolly aphid.  It's unlikely to damage the apples but the aphids buried within are sucking the tree sap.  The waxy cotton protects them from rain, predators and lessens the effect of pesticide spray which tends to just run off. The woolly aphid nymphs overwinter in cracks in the bark so will be back next year now that you have the problem.  The best way to get rid of them is by scrubbing them off now with a stiff brush, if the tree isn't too large.  You can also treat the tree with a winter tree wash (obviously in the winter) which will kill the nymphs.  In severe cases you can spray with various pesticides (see RHS link, below), but that is not nature-friendly.

Sara 4

Gracie, our apple tree got this horrible affliction earlier in the year, and thanks to advice from the forum I scrubbed off all the cotton wool stuff I could find - if you rub it between your fingers you will squish lots of horrible aphids; if there are none left in there then they are scampering about in your tree.  I obviously didn't get all of them although I was as thorough as I could be and our apples have definitely suffered - we have a lot of early fallers with mangled looking twigs and leaves attached.  We are definitely going to treat with a wash this winter, as going by the lumps and bumps in the older bits of tree these pests have been a long term problem.

Thanks for the advice.are I am definitely getting applflat hat are falling early and the leaves look curled too. Will get some of the wash and have a scrub.



You can use the Winter Wash now when you scrub the tree. It is a natural insecticidal soap and that dissolves the wax on the aphids and they then dehydrate and die. It is a long term problem by the way and getting rid can take a fewapplications.

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