Last month while performing a daily patrol of my garden, I noticed that one of my normally beautiful Pawnee Buttes
sand cherries exhibited a severe case of curly leaves and discolored foliage.
Pawnee Buttes are renowned for being drought-tolerant, disease-free, and low-maintenance—just about as bullet-proof as you can get.
So I hopped online to research the problem. Couldn’t find anything on Google about diseases for Pawnee Buttes. Seems that no one is having problems with these shrubby ground covers.
The next day, I noticed the same problem on a small part of another Pawnee Buttes sand cherry nearby. So I pruned the damage from both plants in an effort to prevent further spreading.
A short time later, I visited a local nursery, where I spoke with Bobby, my friend and former co-worker. He knows everything about woody plants. I barely got the symptoms out of my mouth, when he proclaimed, “Curl leaf aphids. They love to attack members of the prunus family.” Being a Prunus besseyi, Pawnee Buttes certainly qualifies as aphid bait.
So following Bobby’s advice, I drenched all four of my Pawnee Buttes with Fertilome Triple Action Plus insecticide and fungicide. Fortunately, the solution helped dramatically. Other possible treatments include insecticidal soaps, neem oil and canola oil. Given the severity of my aphid infestation, I didn’t mess around with the most basic treatment, blasting the plants with water. But now that the infestation is under control, I may do some occasional blasting.
Although aphids seldom kill plants, they make the plants unsightly and leave behind honeydew, which attracts ants.