My Pyracantha Tree

We started doing some landscaping of our property last year. We had the help of a contractor which is good because neither my husband or myself are handy that way. There is a small section in the backyard, that once was lawn, where I wanted to have something low maintenance and drought tolerant. I did not want to have to hire a gardener again or mow and water a lawn. So for the small plot in the back, I picked out ground cover , and my husband and I chose plants, and some fruit trees to add to the succulents and trees that were already there. We put in more succulents, sage, and few other flowering plants. I planted the woolly thyme ground cover myself. On the whole, everything we planted seems to be doing well. Some of the trees and bushes in our backyard were already there when we bought the house many years ago, and I did not know anything about them. I decided I wanted learn and I started doing some research. My daughter recommended an App for my android that helps to identify plants and trees. So I started making observations and taking photos to see what I had growing in my yard. There is a tree, near one wall, that a gardener had said was a Manzanita. Every winter it has small red berries that the birds and squirrels like to eat. I noticed the tree was starting to flower again with small unopened buds. I took a photo of the tree and used my new App to see if I could get it identified. The App was not able to give me an answer so I had to take my research online. I looked at many websites, studying many descriptions and images of leaves and trees. I had noticed that there was this cotton-y like fluff scattered on a few branches. At first I thought it was part of the tree. I was excited when I finally identified my tree as a Pyracantha. One thing mentioned in the description of the tree was thorns which I hadn’t noticed initially. It does have sharp thorns. I found out what the cotton-y fluff was too. It was not part of the tree but something produced by a type of aphid called woolly apple aphid. Yikes, how was I going to get rid of these aphids? Further research led me to aphid predators. I found out there are wasps who lay their eggs in the aphids and turn them into aphid mummies. Other predators of the aphids are syrphid or hover flies, ladybugs, earwigs, and green lacewings. I found something else on a few of the leaves, a reddish dusty looking coating. Turned out that was spider mites. This was getting upsetting because I did not want aphids and spider mites to eat my tree. I did decide to prune a small branch that had more aphids and spider mites than some of the other branches. I wanted to control these little invaders without using pesticides. More research led me to Neem Oil, which is organic.  I have to be careful with it because it can hurt the ‘good’ insects and bees. I have decided to hold off on the Neem Oil a bit because I have observed natural predators on my tree. I have been so excited to see syrphid flies and a few green lacewings landing on the branches. I have gone from being a novice gardener to an amateur entomologist in just a few weeks.


My contribution to the My Stuff Writing Challenge on Almost Iowa @almostiowa.com. Featured image ‘Juene femme lisant dans un jardin’ by Henri Lebasque via Wikimedia.

13 thoughts on “My Pyracantha Tree

  1. Almost Iowa

    That was awesome. We have the same problem with our apple trees and invited a local debate over the best course of action. The neighborhood divided into the nuclear camp which encouraged me to blast the trees with the most powerful insecticides known to man and the weird solution group that say I should pour an odd concoction of vinegar, molasses and beer. At least in my view, beer is always the answer.

    Hey, thanks for responding to the My Stuff Challenge. I will feature your post later this week.

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      I think it would be a worry with apple trees, but I am not an expert. I think I might start with the organic solution. And keep an eye out for those natural predators of aphids. Thank you, Greg. 🙂

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      To attract the aphids I presume? It would be kinda fun to see if it works. There are many remedies online that are natural but don’t know how well they work. Many of them have oil ( like cannola oil) in the recipe. Neem oil can be purchased. The nursery guy told me the oil smothers aphids and mites. I am just watching to see if nature takes care of it. I don’t want to drench my pyracantha yet. 🙂

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  2. Almost Iowa

    Reblogged this on Almost Iowa and commented:
    I have never written about a plant. I tried once when I wrote about watering household plants. It turned out they were all plastic – but I like what Deborah writes about, the struggle between all of Mother Nature’s children. Enjoy…

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      I have beginners gardening skills and many of our plants and trees are very sturdy, lucky for them. I am watching which plants do well and will probably plant more of those. I am learning more about organic aphid and spider mite control. Just ordered a soap spray on Amazon and bought some Neem Oil spray. I think this is getting serious. 😉 LOL Agent Orange. Thank You. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Pingback: Who Spit On My Rosemary Bush? | Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

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