Any advice please from garden enthusiasts 

This is my dwarf patio applet tree and it has developed curly leaves and there are aphid-like tiny insects on the underside of the leaves. Any advice on how to tackle them using eco-friendly homemade insecticides will be welcome. There are tiny apples already and I fear they might drop off and the tree might die. Thanks.

14 thoughts on “Help”

  1. Dear Praxy,
    I am no gardening expert, but Daya was. I recall her using soapy water spray to get rid of aphids successfully. Recently I remembered what she used to do as I had very nice Christmas rose plant which began to wither. When I had a look all the leaves were covered with white aphids. I have used soapy water twice in the last week and they are all gone. I hope they will stay away. I plan to inspect the plant regularly and use the spray at the first sign of recurrence.
    However I take no responsibility for any ‘side effects’ from this. It is simply from personal experience.
    Hope you can enjoy the apples soon.
    With best wishes,


    1. Thank you CJ, I will try it I noticed that these aphids are attacking my Clematis and Holly hock too. I had a look at these to see why they had not flowered and then noticed that the leaves are covered with aphids. Thanks. Praxy


  2. HI Praxy ,
    CJ’s treatment is correct .
    Addition of a table spoon of oil- cooking oil to make the soap water solution ‘stick ‘ to the leaves will
    One cup of water, one table sp of pure liquid soap ( NOT detergents ) , one table sp oil .
    Mix well and spray , using a spray bottle .
    You can lather some water real good , with a bar of soap.- and use a table sp of this .
    if you use more soap , it will sort of ‘burn’ the leaves .

    ALL Soap Based insect spray sols, must come into DIRECT CONTACT with the insect .
    It kills , ONLY on Contact .

    If you can find Neem soap — the good old Kohomba Soap — this is the BEST .
    It has an ingredient ( Azadiractins) that makes the insect to stop feeding/ reproducing , and it will eventually die .
    This is known as an Insect Growth Retardent . ( IGR ) .
    One must be careful NOT let the spray soln come into contact with other beneficial insects like Lady Bugs, Butterflies and their Larvae etc , Dragon flies, Spiders- that keep insect pests under control .
    Google will tell you more about Neem Products –
    Neem is very strong, and not all garden centres will carry Neem products .

    There was a time, when some kohomba leaves were added to rice / grain bags — to prevent the breeding of Weevils . Weevils will eat the kohomba leaves and will eventually stop feeding and reproducing .
    I dont know if this practice is still prevelant in SL .

    If you go to an Indian or Srilankan grocery store, you are sure to find this soap .
    I bought some from SL last year , for personal use and for use in the garden as a neem – oil- spray .

    There is also Neem oil — Kohomba Thel- as we used to call it .
    A bit of this Neem oil + Neem soap- will be a double whammy on the aphids .

    As CJ says– repeat this spray treatment every 5- 7 days , to attack the new bugs being hatched .
    The solution MUST have actual Contact with the insect for it to be effective.
    I will try and call you tomorrow .
    Good luck .
    EagleMaster Gardener !


    1. Thank you Deepthie Master gardener for this valuable information.
      I am really upset as these aphids have attacked a lot of my flowering plants too. It seems difficult to spray as these are on the underside of the leaves.
      Do you think I should cut of all the leaves of all my plants including the apple tree as there are too many of them. I just could not believe when I saw the Hollyhock leaves first I saw white dots on the leaves and when I looked underneath they were fully covered.
      Oh please help as these aphids are a plague. Praxy


    1. Thank you Narme. Soapy water seems to be the answer.
      As I mentioned in my reply to Deepthie I noticed that a lot of my flowering plants are affected.With my arthritis it is a bit difficult to spray and I am wondering whether to cut off all the leaves.


  3. My 2 cents worth (2 Thuttu) :-
    Soap seems popular – even for Aunty Corona !
    Or you can try spraying dilute vinegar.
    I got another idea:- just throw it away & buy a new healthier one !!!. Sorry to say but the soil in the pot is looking a little sad – I can say this because you cant beat me up – I am far away.


  4. Hey Seelan. You cheeky thing.
    I agree the pot is looking sad as I have to attend to all my plants. Ranjit loves to keep a nice lawn so he takes very good care of it and not my plants.
    Lots of my plants are affected and I cant trow all of them as I am not rich like you ha ha ha!.
    I am soooooo upset that a lot of my flowering plant are affected, But I cant complain when the whole world is grieving over Corona…. these are only material things.


  5. Hi Praxy,
    It seems your apple tree needs major surgery combined with medication. Remember young and healthy handle COVID19 better than we oldies.
    The plant has overgrown the pot size and grown lean like two sticks, with very sick curled side shoots. Most of the leaves are curled and very unhealthy. It could be aphids,midges or molds or a combination.
    You are coming to Summer in UK. Prune the tree, removing all sick and stunted twigs and remove all curled up leaves. Dispose them in the genral rubbish bin. Spray the tree with oil based soap spray weekly. Spary the soil as well. Make sure that the pot is not over watered. There should be plenty of oxygen for the roots to grow healthy. Overwatering deprives the soil of oxygen. Best way to water is to allow the water to drain after watering. Check the wetness before watering. If your finger is wet, Pot does not need water.
    I use “Sea Sol” when watering pots once a week. This is in addition to small amounts of fertiliser once a month from early spring until mid summer.
    In the winter change the pot to a larger pot ( not too large) with fresh potting mix. Prune the tree to shape. When the buds start appearing spray with copper spray couple of times before the flowers open. Keep the pot in a sunny position all the time. Apple trees need lot of sun.
    If one plant is infected, there could be many around. Attend to them the same way at the same time. Treat the soil with the same spray you use on the plants, or re-pot the plants. If using the same pot, wash with soap before repotting. Wash the pruners, hands and any tools before using on other plants, to prevent cross infection.
    Yes Seelan soap is a wonder drug !


  6. Dear Nimal,
    You are a master of everything. The advice you have given to Praxy is more than what she can get from a horticulturist !!! Hope she reads this,
    I will follow this advice too.


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