Acer Palmatum Shindeshojo - Aphids

Olific

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Three weeks ago I ventured out and bought this nice Shindeshojo from a local Bonsai retailer. I was looking through their selection for a tree with potential but that had already been grown out a little bit. This tree was out back with a host of other impressive trees. It immediately caught my eye with it’s sturdy trunk, vivid leaves, and the fact that I’ve been looking for my first maple. Since it was acquired it has put out a vast amount of new growth as you can see.

Yesterday I was doing my daily routine checking the tree for any unusual signs, when I saw a few ants on a main upper branch. I traced their stream upwards to a small section of foliage on the top of the tree. As you can see I then found these small little guys on various leaves. I’ve read about many different methods of combating them but I wanted to reach out to the community for more advice.

I should add I live in Seattle WA, zone 8b and am currently keeping it in my small backyard. It’s placed so that it gets morning and early afternoon light but it’s slightly under an overhang, just enough so it doesn’t get hit by the rain we get quite frequently.

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BobbyLane

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you can use an insecticide, or you can mix a drop of washing up liquid in a spray bottle with water. some people just hose them off with water.
 

atlarsenal

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I usually just try to spray them off with a water hose a couple of times for a day or two. If that doesn’t work I hit them with Bayer Tree & Shrub.
 

Dav4

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Mike Hennigan

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Are you talking about the little black spots in the leaves? Because I don’t think those are aphids. I’ve never seen a black aphid and aphids don’t attach to leaves as far as I know. They’re usually attached to young stems.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Are you talking about the little black spots in the leaves? Because I don’t think those are aphids. I’ve never seen a black aphid and aphids don’t attach to leaves as far as I know. They’re usually attached to young stems.
Then you’re lucky, because they most definitely exist. If you look closely in that last photo, you can even see an ant farming.
 

leatherback

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Then you’re lucky, because they most definitely exist. If you look closely in that last photo, you can even see an ant farming.
They absolutely exist (And anybody who grows edible beans can confirm this, sigh).
However... The tiny black specks do look small for aphids and my money was on caterpillar presence. The ant however...

Do a good check of your trees.
 

Olific

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Thanks for all the replies everyone. This morning I went out and did a thorough look over of the tree. ajm55555 was correct, there was indeed a caterpillar hiding amongst the canopy. The holes in various leaves throughout the tree should have been a tell tale sign but I'm still pretty new at this. I also found another little guy, not the first one I've seen on the tree either. This guy looks more like an aphid to me, but I'm not quite sure.
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Dav4

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Thanks for all the replies everyone. This morning I went out and did a thorough look over of the tree. ajm55555 was correct, there was indeed a caterpillar hiding amongst the canopy. The holes in various leaves throughout the tree should have been a tell tale sign but I'm still pretty new at this. I also found another little guy, not the first one I've seen on the tree either. This guy looks more like an aphid to me, but I'm not quite sure.
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You can squish him, too!
 

Mike Hennigan

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They absolutely exist (And anybody who grows edible beans can confirm this, sigh).
However... The tiny black specks do look small for aphids and my money was on caterpillar presence. The ant however...

Do a good check of your trees.
Do they really? Like leaf aphids? Black leaf aphids? Is that a thing? Lol. Are they more specific to something like a Japanese maple? I’ve had aphid infestations but mostly on my crabapples and hawthorns and they were the little yellow green guys that attach to the young stems.
 

Mike Hennigan

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Thats interesting because when I had those infestations they didn’t seem interested in my Japanese maples one bit. I believe you for sure! Just haven’t run into them yet, guess I am lucky.
 

Dav4

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Thats interesting because when I had those infestations they didn’t seem interested in my Japanese maples one bit. I believe you for sure! Just haven’t run into them yet, guess I am lucky.
I never had issues with aphids on my palmatums until I moved south... now it's an annual occurrence.


But I don't have Japanese beetle issues here and they were a PITA up north... go figure.
 

Mike Hennigan

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I never had issues with aphids on my palmatums until I moved south... now it's an annual occurrence.


But I don't have Japanese beetle issues here and they were a PITA up north... go figure.
Oh interesting. The Japanese beetles were all over my elms last year, but they left most other things alone thankfully. At least with elms they just keep pushing new flushes of growth all season, rather have them chew on those than anything else in my garden.
 

terryb

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Believe me, he's a goner!
That is a shame. It looks like an aphid that has been attacked by a parasitic wasp. These tiny wasps are really good at keeping aphid numbers down but routinely spraying your insects tends to kill them off as well. The parasitised aphids don’t look like the live ones and are easily spotted once you know what they look like. Search the net for “aphid mummies”, there is plenty of info and pictures
 

Olific

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That is a shame. It looks like an aphid that has been attacked by a parasitic wasp. These tiny wasps are really good at keeping aphid numbers down but routinely spraying your insects tends to kill them off as well. The parasitised aphids don’t look like the live ones and are easily spotted once you know what they look like. Search the net for “aphid mummies”, there is plenty of info and pictures
Interesting, learning new things as I go. There were some small flying insects I found as well but I had no clue as to what they were.
 

Olific

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They absolutely exist (And anybody who grows edible beans can confirm this, sigh).
However... The tiny black specks do look small for aphids and my money was on caterpillar presence. The ant however...

Do a good check of your trees.
Someone who lived here prior to me actually planted green bean plants that run up the sides and across the patio area where my trees are located. Could have something to do with this.. I'll keep a lookout regardless.
 
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