‘Don’t spray stuff’: Monty Don on what to do if ants ‘attack’ apple trees – ‘will be fine’

Monty Don shares tips for ant infestations on apple trees

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During this evening’s coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Monty Don and Joe Swift were on hand to answer viewers’ gardening questions. One viewer asked the gardening experts how to stop ants and greenfly from “attacking” their apple tree. Monty said: “Ants don’t attack apple trees.

“What’s almost certainly happening is the ants are farming the greenfly – which are aphids – in order to eat and drink their sweet excreta.

“The greenfly might be eating it a little bit.”

Joe said to “leave” the ants and greenfly as they may end up getting eaten by natural predators.

He said: “Hopefully, ladybirds will come along and they will munch on them.

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“And you will get the balance.”

Monty said balance is the “key” when it comes to thinking about natural pests.

He continued: “Everybody gets in a state about this, the tree might be eaten a little bit, it will be fine.

“Because nature will balance itself out, it’s wildlife, it’s nature.”

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Joe said “we don’t want to start spraying stuff”.

“We don’t need any of that,” he added.

Ants and aphids can often be seen working together as they are beneficial to one another.

Aphids produce a sugary food or honeydew for the ants.

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The ants care for the aphids by protecting them from predators and parasites.

Another viewer asked Monty and Joe why her peony is not producing more flowers.

Monty said gardeners should ask themselves whether they have planted their peony “too deep”.

Joe said this is a “common mistake”, especially if the peony has been moved from another location.

The gardening experts said they need to be planted so just the neck is at soil level.

“Any deeper will inhibit flowering,” Monty said.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage can be streamed on BBC iPlayer.

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