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I have a wintering flowering blossom tree in my South Facing garden. The bottom third of the brances look like they have died and quite a few of them have small spiders webs on them. Has anyone any idea what it wrong with it? I have also noticed some ants running up and down the trunk today.
If the webs are at the tips, it could be red spider mite, which is difficult to deal with. The ants running up and down the trunk indicate there are aphids - ants feed off the sugary liquid which aphids excrete, and you may even see ants carrying baby aphids to new parts of the tree. Try spraying with Provado ultimate bug killer to deal with the aphids and putting a wide (about 2 inches) band of vaseline all the way around the trunk, which should stop the ants from climbing up.
It's not unusual to find dead branches after winter. You can prune them out with a puning saw or loppers - Wolf do good ones of both and not expensive given they will last years. Cut them back to the main stem.
If your tree does have spider mite it means it's too dry and is stressed. Having ants farming aphids won't help either so give it a good watering in dry spells and give ita good feed now of something like pelleted chicken manure or blood, fish and bone which are both good, all round, slow release fertilisers.
Thank you for that. The webs do seem to be on the tips. Bob...I know that you said it is difficult to deal with, but how do I deal with it?
As obelixx says, giving them a good feed and plenty of water will help them fight off bugs. There is a predator for spider mite, but it is expensive (do a search for Phytosieulus persimilis.) As long as temperatures stay above 15C, they will kill the lot. I've also had some good results using SB Plant Invigorator which also acts as a foliar feed, when I had spider mite on my greenshouse cucumbers a couple of years ago.