Last winter I put some insect grease bands around the base of my apple trees.
Then I forgot about them. This was fine since these sticky bands just sit there, discouraging various unwanted creatures from climbing the tree.
However after 9 months they really need removing to stop the bark beneath them from rotting.
I remembered to remove the bands, but only just in time. The bark beneath the strip where the bands had lain was soft and mushy and came away with a rubber of the finger.
Thankfully within a few days the bark had hardened again and the trees are fine. But it gave me a bit of a scare to say the least. One of the trees in particular (a Devonshire bred russet) was a gift from my departed mum and so has a deep emotional importance alongside the obvious importance of producing fruit that goes into my annual cider production. As, I say, in the end there was no problem, but this does highlight how easy it is to mess up your tree care regime.
Despite my little accident adding grease bands is a really good thing to do as part of looking after your trees. Ants climb trees and stop insects such as ladybirds from eating aphids. The grease bands stop the ants from climbing which means the ladybirds eat the aphids and you don’t get and aphid infestation on your apple trees. But apart from ants, Grease bands protect apple trees from winter moth caterpillars. Aphids are a nuisance, but winter moth can ruin a fruit crop.
I guess I really can’t stress this enough. Grease bands are a key part of any Apple growers care regimen. Just remember to take them off after the allotted time.