Ants in nursery stock soil. Prunus cerasifera Nigra

Just observed ants having the time of their lives in the pot of my recently purchased prunus Nigra. It’s currently planted in some sort of sandy soil and I was thinking if I would try a late repot to get rid of the ants. Full bare root with washing the roots completely clean. The tree was very cheap, long time project so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I lost it. The top of the tree has leafed out and the bottom is leafing out now.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Hey hey :slight_smile:
I experienced ants once and they were all over my juniper. They stayed maybe a month or so and left as fast as they came.
I would observe them for few days (sometimes just few minutes or hour is enough) where are they going and what they do. Most of the time they are no harm to plants actually oposite! they might be feeding on aphids for instance and in such case it’s natural and the best pest controler you can have :slight_smile:
They can cause problem only if they are nesting in the soil - it would affect root development and maybe caused some sort of fungi. In your case give it a time especially cos you just purchased the tree.
As long as the tree shows all signs of health there is no much to worry about. Also perhaps try to find out what type of ants they are… ?

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Thanks for the reply!
I’ll lift the tree out of the container tomorrow check if they are nesting. The ants beneath the container are normal black ants, the ants I saw at the surface were grey, never seen that type of ant before. I’ll Google and see if I can figure it out.

If you see ants and aphids, get rid of both! The ants don’t eat the aphids, they farm them for the honeydew they produce. They actually help spread them on the tree.


And the ants can move the aphids to others trees/plants to start a new “honeydew farm” !

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Ah!! :persevere: I must have come across misleading information re Ants and Aphids relationship. My apologies. I will do some further research on this.
My experience I discribed was with ‘just purchased’ tree too and probably I was lucky one. Anyways like I said observation should be done as first and after reading other comments definitely check for aphids first then. Hope the tree will survive :crossed_fingers:

I decided to repot the tree.
There weren’t any signs of aphids, just lots of ants. I tried the soaking technique I’ve read about online. Basically put the entire container in a tub of water, fully submerged for about 5 hours to drown the ants. But they were still there.
I tried to save as much roots as possible and the tree will be in a glassed porch out of wind untill it has recovered.
My plan was to trunk chop the tree this year, but if it doesn’t respond well I’ll postpone that operation.
Thanks all for your replies!