Sunday, 5 July 2009

Orchard Update - July

We could do with a bit of rain. The orchard is looking like the centre court at Wimbledon; parched, dusty, overrun with Posh Birds guzzling expensive Strawberries. The pampering of Karen's hens knows no bounds!

The trees look OK for the most part, a little more of the Powdery Mildew has appeared, but the only things really thriving are the Aphids. The growing shoots on most of the trees are covered in Green Aphid, and two of the Tremlett's are badly infested with the dreaded Rosy Apple Aphid. They're also infested with hungry Harlequin Ladybird Larva, and Earwigs, which is a good thing, but sadly the battle has already been lost.

The problem with Rosy Apple Aphid is that when the critters latch onto the underside of a leaf, it curls over to cover them. Whilst this makes an infestation easy to spot, it makes the job of control that much harder. I've been forced to restore the balance on these trees with a dose of fatty acid insecticide spray, but even so, it's probably an early bath for these Tremlett's and we won't see much more growth from them now. As you can see from this pic, the damage extends to the shoot itself, the growth of which is now distorted and will probably need pruning out this Winter.

One irritating side effect of all this Aphid squishing is a condition I'll call 'Bug-Squish Finger'. The Green Aphid are bad enough, dying your fingers an unpleasant shade of browny/green, but the Rosy critters add their own hue to the mix, and I'm now left with disgustingly orange stained digits. It's persistent too, resisting all attempts at washing off, so for the next day or two I'll have the look of a particularly lazy right-handed chain smoker.

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