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4thPanda

Hi all 

2 questions if I may.....

Plum tree - it has blossom on it for the second year in a row  Is there anything I can do to encourage it to fruit?

Apple tree - for the last two years it has been plagued by aphids. Is there anything I can do to prevent them from arriving this year?

Many thanks 

I'm no expert but had a plum tree on my last allotment, I'm given to understand two things need to happen for it to fruit. It needs to blossom but a late frost can kill the blossom in which case there will be no fruit. Secondly the blossom needs to be polinated and so bee's need to be encouraged to come. 

Are the branches conjested and crossing over? My tree was in need of a sever prune and so in the autumn it was cut back a third, all the crossed branches taken out and branches I couldn't reach to pick fruit.It was a very sever pruning but produced a pumper crop.

Does your apple tree have ants on or around the stem, these can farm aphids. ,    

4thPanda

Thanks Zoomer 

I did have some crossing branches on the plum but removed them  Am wondering if I should assist the pollinators with my paintbrush  I don't do anything to encourage or discourage the bees from my garden - neither of my neighbours have plants in their gardens so they should find loads to enjoy in mine 

Re the apple, it has been plagued by ants for the last couple of years  Any tips on stopping them? 

Panda, i was told to hang bird feeders in an affected tree to attract birds which will eat the aphids, dunno about ants tho, have you got a pond? Maybe something else would control the ants?

I would say the same as zoomer about the plum, if the frost has already got at the blossom, you might just have to wait til next year and cover it in fleece when you see the blossom, you will have to hand pollinate to then

Is the apple tree in the ground or a pot?

There are a number of ways to stop the ants.

I had them on a cherry blossom planted in the ground so put a ring of vasilin, several inches wide around the bark at the bottom, it needs to be wide enough so they can't bridge it and might need replacing over the summer. The ants don't die and will try to bypass the ring by climbing up any neighbouring shrubs or tree's which touch the apple, so these need cutting back. 

The ants will go some place else, mine must have departed the garden as I've never had the same problem on other plants.

If in a pot, ants don't like to much water, I'm given to understand a good dunking in water will get rid of them but others maybe able to help more with this solution.

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What variety of plum Panda? Is it self fertile? Even so another pollinator will help.

to help stop ants keep soil moist.  wise anyway.  But nematodes for ants will help too.

Topbird

Hi Panda. We inherited a maturish Victoria plum tree which didn't fruit at all the first couple of years we were here (same with the mature Egremont Russet apple).

Two years ago we did major landscaping & the planting included 4 crab apple trees. Last year we had loads of blossom = loads of pollinators = super, bumper crop of really nice apples and bumper (well ok - 11 - ) crop of plums.

I have concluded that the poor cropping of plums is due to lack of pollination (Victoria is supposed to be self fertile) but I'm hoping it will get better year on year as we increase the pollinator friendly planting. Meantime I might try the old paintbrush trick myself...

Re aphids on the apple tree - encouraging birds is a good idea. I also get a bucket of soapy water and stiff brush and scrub off any of those patches of cotton wool the woolly aphids hide in. Doesn't get rid of them but helps to control them. I have been known to sprinkle ant powder round the base of my tree before now - didn't last long but made me feel better.

Don't like ant powder around edible crops Topbird.  

Re apples, I planted an orchard  few years ago and included 2 crab apples.  Crabs are great for pollination.

Topbird
Verdun wrote (see)

Don't like ant powder around edible crops Topbird.  

 

You are probably right Verdun  - won't do that again.

4thPanda

Apologies for the delay in replying, have been in the garden  

My apple tree is in the ground. I will try the Vaseline trick and avoid ant powder 

Will see if I can find the label for the plum tree. I didn't plant it so am not sure what type it is 

frensclan

I have a mini orchard in the back garden with plum, damson, crab apple and apple trees and a couple of reluctant pears which have been in for 3yrs now. Last year the plum tree did have flowers but no fruit as we had a couple of nasty late frosts that did for the flowers. This year more flowers and hoping for no more frosts although here in the north west nothing is certain till the end of May!!!

4thPanda

Couldn't find the label, but remember it saying the ever-so-helpful 'patio plum'!  (The tree had the label on when I moved in) Guess I'll find a paint brush and give nature a hand, just in case 

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