Garden Q&A: What is eating the leaves on my cherry tree?

Whether you're a gardening beginner or expert, Irish Examiner columnist Peter Dowdall has the answer to your questions
Garden Q&A: What is eating the leaves on my cherry tree?

The pink blossom of Prunus 'Royal Burgundy'. Picture: iStock

QUESTION

I have a flowering cherry (Prunus 'Royal Burgundy') and the leaves (new shoots) are being eaten. 

I can't see what is eating them.

It looks like black poo and it is soft. 

What can I spray on it?

ANSWER

It sounds like blackfly. These and other aphids feed on the sap of leaves, having a particular fondness, for soft, new vulnerable growth. 

They gather in large numbers around the growing tips and new leaves and feed to their hearts' content. 

As the foliage emerges and develops it is contorted and gnarled. 

The best remedy, if they’re not too widespread, is to simply cut off the affected shoots and throw them out. 

Spraying them with the fine jet of a hose nozzle is just as effective and chemical-free.

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