The presence of ants in a plum tree indicates a health problem; although ants themselves might not damage the tree, they are the cause of a number of problems. Keeping ants out of a plum tree and killing the ants that are already on it are important for keeping the tree healthy and growing.
Ants on Plum Trees
Ants do not damage a plum tree directly. However, they herd problematic pests like aphids and scale insects, which cause serious damage to trees and spread disease. Aphids and scale insects feed on the leaves of plum trees, leaving holes that allow diseases to enter the tree. Scale insects also produce a sweet substance that provides a place for sooty mould to grow. Ants feed on the secretions produced by these pests.
Pest control is important for controlling the population of ant pests and keeping the plum tree healthy. Pesticides that target scale insects and aphids as well as those used to control ants help lower the population of harmful insects on a plum tree. Apply pesticides in the early spring or according to the directions on the variety used for the best results. Keeping plum trees healthy involves annual applications of pesticides.
Pruning helps control the damage done to plum trees by ant interference. Removing dead, broken or weakened branches promotes the growth of healthy new branches. Additionally, getting rid of weak or dead branches prevents harmful fungi from living in the tree and prevents ants from creating nests in the tree that can further spread disease and damage. Prune plum trees in the early spring while the tree is still dormant to keep it healthy.
Protecting plum trees from ant problems is one way to avoid the use of chemicals and stop insects from damaging the tree. Spreading diatomaceous earth around the base of a plum tree helps kill ants and keep them from the tree. Diatomaceous earth injures the ants and stops them from crawling over it to the tree. Protecting a plum tree from the effects of ants cuts down on the amount of time and money gardeners spend caring for plum trees.