Real World Gardener Winter Care of Ornamental Plants in Plant Doctor

July 11th, 2018

PLANT DOCTOR

Winter Care of Ornamental Plants

Ornamental plants are those whose leaves, flowers and fruits we don't eat.

Autumn is meant to gently acclimatise most plants to the cold.

What if Autumn is just an extension of Summer and then, whoosh, cold weather arrives all too soon and it's winter?

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Snow damage on Eucalypts

That is one reason that during winter some of our trees and shrubs don’t look so healthy and gardeners start getting concerned that something is wrong with their particular plant.

Unsuspecting gardeners might even think that their plant is dying because the leaves have started dropping of, yet it’s supposed to be evergreen.

Could it be just a response to cold weather or is something untoward happening in the soil that is affecting the plant’s health?

Let’s find out.. 

I'm talking with was Steve Falcioni, General Manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

The leaves can change colour due to the cold, and it may be just a normal reaction or because the plant can't access nutrients that it needs.

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Frost Damagon Avocado. photo Dept of  Primary Industries W. A.

If you make a note in your garden diary that a particular plant did this or that in winter, you may discover that it’s quite normal during the cold months of the year. 

Seaweed extracts help plants reduce stress factors and one of them is coping with the cold.

Applying it regularly though is a must for this to be of benefit.

If you have any questions either for me or Steve, you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Winter Care of Citrus in Plant Doctor

June 28th, 2018

PLANT DOCTOR

Citrus Winter Care

Are you wondering “what’s wrong with my citrus tree?” right now.

Perhaps the symptoms that you’re seeing now seem to happen every winter?

If that’s the case, then you’ll need to listen in closely to this next segment which is just about that.

Let’s find out.. I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, general manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

Steve offered quite a range of things to do for your citrus tree.

Firstly though, you need to assess your tree to determine what’s going on with it.

The number 1 problem to look out for is scale.

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Citrus scale ( white louse scale) will cover the stems, twigs and branches of your citrus tree in what looks like fine shredded coconut that has tuck fast.

To treat this problem spray with Eco Oil making sure all surfaces are covered well.

Spray again a week later as a follow up spray.

If it looks like nothing's happened try flicking off the scale with your finger. Live scale easily flicks off, whereas dead scale sticks fast.

If the scale problem is so bad that the oil spray doesn't seem to be working, then go for a lime-sulphur spray. Winter is the only time for this one on citrus.

Some districts that have warmer weather all year round need to hang a pheremone trap to control citrus leaf miner. 

The moth lays its eggs into the leaf where the larvae feed and finally tunnel out created leaf distortion and silvering.

One things for sure, and that is there’s no point in spreading granular citrus tree fertiliser around the tree in winter.

There is next to no if any, uptake of nutrients from the fertiliser because the tree isn’t in active growth, (unless you’re in subtropical areas) and the fertiliser won’t break down to release the nutrients because of the lack of microbial activity in the soil during winter.

 

If you have any questions either for me or Steve, you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Plant Viruses on Plant Doctor

May 4th, 2018

PLANT DOCTOR

Plant Viruses Uncovered


If your plants look unhealthy but there’s no sign of pests or disease, then chances are the plant has a virus.
Rose Mosaic Virus
On the other hand if you have some unusual patterns on your rose and camellias leaves, these don’t harm the plant and are fine to leave alone. 
Viruses that effect edible plants are a different problem all together. 
Let’s find out about this problem. 
I'm talking with Steve Falcioni General Manager owww.ecoorganicgarden.com.au 

 

Steve mentioned the "tomato spotted wilt virus" which as the name suggests, affects tomatoes, but it also affects 500 other plants!

The Cucumber mosaic virus affects all members of the Cucurbit family, where the rose mosaic virus only affects members of Rosaceae.

How virus's in plants are spread?

`Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on Basil Leaves

Sap suckers are the usual vectors of viruses in the garden; these include aphids, leaf hoppers, thrips and whitefly are good examples.

Weeds can also harbor these sap suckers so it’s important to keep on top of the weeding.

The weeds can also have viruses in their tissue.

Also don’t forget to disinfect your garden tools after pruning particular plants and buy plants that are certified virus free.

If you have any questions either for me or Steve you can email us 

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Real World Gardener Fixing Indoor Plant Problems in Plant Doctor

March 30th, 2018

PLANT DOCTOR

Looking After Indoor Plants.

You may have heard that having indoor plants make for a healthy home.

The reason is that the plants and in fact mostly the soil that plants sit in, absorb the VOC’s or volatile organic compounds that all your furniture, flooring, household cleaners give off.

But those plants are made of plastic so will need attention. 

Indoor%2Bplants.jpg


You may not have noticed that your indoor plant/s were in decline even though you've been walking past them everyday for most of the year.

Here are some pointers to get you started.

Let’s find out . 

Indoor%2BPlants.JPGI'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY: Indoor Plant Problems_21st March 2018

The first tip: Top up that potting mix.

After 2-3 years, potting mix becomes compacted and shrinks down several cms.

Plus old potting mix needs replacing after a while anyway because of this "slumping" and becoming acidic over the years.

The second tip: Check if the soil has become hydrophobic.

Scratch the surface after you've initially water to see if it has actually penetrated.

If not, apply a soil wetting agent.

The third tip: Now your pest or disease.

If you have any indoor plant problems is important to first diagnose what is exactly happening with the plant.

Is it just the soil, or is it something that needs spraying. 

Because your plants are indoors I would recommend using organic sprays

 

If you have any questions either for me or for Steve, you can email us Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

 
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Real World Gardener Citrus Pest Watch in Plant Doctor

November 24th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

Citrus Pest Watch

Hopefully you’ve finished your spring cleaning but now it’s time to check out that citrus tree you’ve got in your backyard.

Our plants put on lots of fast growth in the garden but so do the bugs good and bad.

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Being pro-active is the best way to beat the pests that seem to plague citrus more than any other plant in the garden.  

Some gardeners do this by spraying their citrus over the winter months with horticultural oil.

For a lot of insect pests, sprays are effective if you’ve timed it correctly, because as the pests mature or evolve into the next stage, sprays may become ineffective.

 

Let’s find out what to look out for. I'm talking with was Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY Citrus Pest Watch_15th November 2017

 

Two types of pests to watch out for and for some states, the extra pest of fruit fly.

Group 1 is the sap suckers which include aphids, mites, mealybugs and the citrus stink bug.

The best time to hit these pests in Spring, particularly the citrus stink bug. The reason being that coming out of winter, the juveniles are small, pale green and susceptible to the oil sprays such as Eco Oil.

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Citrus pests photo M Cannon

Group 2 are the chewing pests. such as citrus leaf miner and caterpillars. The leaf miner pest is actually a very small moth that lays its eggs on new leaf growth.

The hatching larvae then tunnel into the tissue causing the leaf disfigurement or curling and the silver trails.

Leaf miner can be organically controlled with pheremone traps that are hung in the trees.

As for the caterpillars, a lot of the will turn into beautiful butterflies, so decide what you would rather; a few chewed leaves or some orchard swallowtail butterflies?

If you have any questions about citrus pests either for me or

 

Steve, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 
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Real World Gardener Where Do Insects Go in Winter in Plant Doctor?

August 24th, 2017

 

PLANT DOCTOR

Overwintering Insects-where do they all go?

Have you ever thought what happens to insects in winter?

In particular insect pests, we don’t see as many pests but come Spring, they seem to emerge in their hundreds from somewhere.

How are they managing to hang on, especially in those districts where temperatures fall below zero.

You’ll be surprised to find out the methods that insects use .

So let’s find out.

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY: Overwintering insects_9th August 2017

Insects seem to manage to hang on in one form or and how they do this seems to vary quite a bit because they’re so adaptive

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Codling moth larvae

Lay eggs that stay dormant until warmer weather and longer daylength occurs.Some of the methods we talked about that insects use to get by in the colder months were:

  1. Juvenile stages hide in cracks of branches, twists of leaves, under rocks and find crevices to stay warm.

3.Pupate over winter like the Codling Moth.

  1. Go deeper into the soil to stay warm, like the Curl Grub.

5.Hibernate over winter just as the ladybird does.

 

Did you know ladybirds go off a pheremone to signal other ladybirds to form a huddle when hibernating?

 

TIP: Removing weeds during winter also removes hiding spots for pests like mealybug and aphids.

Did you know that the shorter daylight lengths of Autumn trigger insects to enter something called diapause.

 

What’s that?

Well, diapause (and also the definition of an evening spent watching TV) is "an inactive state of arrested development."

Diapause insects sees their metabolic rate drop to one tenth of what it is normally so it can use stored body fat to survive winter.

 

If you have any questions about insects, why not email us realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

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Real World Gardener Indoor Plants Pests and General Care in Design Elements

August 10th, 2017

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Indoor Plants: Care and Maintenance

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about what plants you can grow indoors wherever you live in Australia.

Quite a few in fact can cope with all weather conditions for the far north of Australia to Tasmania.

Despite all your loving attention though, some plants can be susceptible to pest attack, or just like plain unhealthy, making you think you did something wrong.

 

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Bad case of scale photo M Cannon

Not necessarily true, so let’s find out about looking after indoor plants

That was Julia Levitt Director of www.sticksandstonesld.com.au

PLAY: Indoor plants-pests_2nd August 2017

 

Even the best plant owner will come across pests.

  • If your plant is showing signs of:

o   Wilting

o   Loosing it’s leaves prematurely

o   Leaves turning yellow and patchy

o   Leaves have a black dusty look or are sticky

  • Look for one of these pests as they could be causing the aggravation: Fungus Gnats, Whiteflies, Mealy Bug, Aphids, Spider Mites, Scale and Thrips. 

The trick is to keep an eye on your plants and act quickly as soon as you see something wrong with your indoor plant.

Why are we having plants indoors again?

Apart from plants reducing carbon dioxide levels in your home, did you know that people with plants in their homes have less stress, and plants have been known to contribute to lower blood pressure? 

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Real World Gardener Preventing Brown Rot of Stone Fruit on Plant Doctor

July 7th, 2017

 

PLANT DOCTOR

 Brown Rot of Stone Fruit

This fungal disease can appear on a lot of plants including veggies and a lot of fruits, but today Plant Doctor is concentrating on stone fruit.

Before you tune out, you might discover that some fruit that you purchase might have this problem.

This segment explains why that piece of fruit that’s sitting innocently in your fruit bowl can suddenly go off.

So let’s find out more about this problem and what to do about it. 

 

That was Steve Falcioni, General Manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

The first signs can be the blossoms of your peach or nectarine trees turning brown and falling off prematurely.

You may not notice this happening in the first season, but if your trees have been infected. you will notice brown patches on your fruit that eventually cause the whole fruit to rot.

 You may not have any blossoms on your stone fruit trees, but there are still things that you can be doing as preventative measures for Brown Rot.

If this has happened then next season what you need to do is then to observe your blossoms when they appear to see if they’re dying prematurely.

Of course if you’ve had this problem before you need to spray as a precaution. Sprays with copper or sulphur in them work well as do eco Fungicide that contains potassium bi-carbonate.

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Brown rot of stone fruit can leave mummified fruit stuck to the branches.

These are all barrier sprays and need to followed up regularly through the growing season.

If you have any questions about Brown rot of stone fruit, or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675

 

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Real World Gardener Black Spot on Apples in Plant Doctor

June 1st, 2017

 

PLANT DOCTOR

Black Spot on Apples; Apple Scab

We all love to eat perfect apples but if you grow apple trees, then watch out for this.

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If you’ve ever grown roses you would’ve heard about the fungal disease called black spot that starts of as black blotches on the leaves.

The spots become bigger, in some cases joining up, the leaves turn yellow, and then drop off.

Sound familiar?

Well you’ll be surprised to learn that there is another type of black spot, don’t worry, it’s not on roses, but it appears on apple trees.

In fact this disease is a serious problem for apple orchardists.

Let’s find out more.. 

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY: PLAY :Apple Scab_24th May 2017

Black spot on apples looks different than black spot on roses because there isn’t the typical yellowing of the leaves.

The spots are also more irregular than blackspot on roses.

The problem with this fungal disease is that it also spreads to the apples, especially in humid weather.

Spotting on fruit develops a corky layer which resembles a scab. If this happens on young fruit it can also cause cracking. On mature fruit it's still a problem with the appearance of corky scabs on the surface, affecting the re-sale value.

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Apple Scab

One thing to note, if your tree has had it in the past, be a good neighbour and spray your plants to prevent further spread because it’s a major problem for orchadists.

 

If you have any questions apple scab or apple black spot. or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.

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Real World Gardener Which Fertiliser to Use in Plant Doctor

May 10th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

Fertilisers explained-granular or liquid, seaweed or organic, which is it to be?
How well do you know your fertilisers
?

There are two basic groups of fertilisers, solids or granular which are generally more slow acting, and liquids which are fast acting.

Whether you add organic matter or fertiliser to your soil, you provide your plants with three basic building blocks.

 

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Controlled release fertiliser and Blood 'n Bone 

 

These are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, often referred to by their chemical symbols of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and K (potassium or potash).

Packaged fertilisers list the amounts of NPK each product contains, often showing it in a ratio format, called the NPK ratio.

But which ones should you use?

 

Let’s find out.. I'm talking with Steve Falcioni General Manager from www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

What to Watch Out For?

For gardeners in cooler climates, the winter period will see plant growth and microbial activity in the soil slow down.

What are the implications?

Nutrient uptake by plants is minimal if you're still using granular or solid type of fertilisers at this time.

The reason?

1-HOM_5247.JPGBulky fertilisers need to be converted into a useable form before plant roots can take them up. So, if microbial activity, which does this conversion has slowed down to a crawl, so will this conversion and that leads to slow nutrient uptake.

Rock dust is the slowest of all to break down taking up to 6 months or more, depending on when you apply it.

The way plants use nutrients is quite complex and varies from plant to plant. 

Some need lots of one nutrient but little of another, while others need a balanced amount of each. Understanding which nutrient does what gives you a rough guide to selecting the right fertiliser for your plants and garden.

That's why some fertilisers are labeled Citrus and Fruit, or Flower and Fruit, or Azaleas and Camellias. They are specific to those plants.

Seaweed extracts don't have enough nutrients in them to be classed as fertilisers, but they are plant tonics because they increase root growth and stimulate plant cell walls to strengthen.

If you have any questions about fertilisers or have some information to share, drop us a line to realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.

 
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