Real World Gardener Citrus Pest Watch in Plant Doctor

November 24th, 2017


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.


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


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.


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 or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


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

August 24th, 2017



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


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


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 or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


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

August 10th, 2017


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.



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

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? 


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

July 7th, 2017



 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

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.


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



Real World Gardener Black Spot on Apples in Plant Doctor

June 1st, 2017



Black Spot on Apples; Apple Scab

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


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


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.


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.


Real World Gardener Which Fertiliser to Use in Plant Doctor

May 10th, 2017


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.



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


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 or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.


Real World Gardener 28th January Citrus Gall Wasp in Plant Doctor

March 24th, 2017


Pests of Citrus-Citrus Gall Wasp

If you though that all you had to contend with on Citrus, was the curling, silvery leaves, the Bronze-Orange stink bugs, the citrus scale on the trunk, then think again, because there's at least one more.


Citrus Gall Wasp-image Dept. of Ag. W.A.

This is a native pest of all citrus, which does include native citrus trees like finger limes, and now is the time when you can notice the damage that this pest has done to your tree. As in a other citrus pests, the damage is done by a tiny moth, about 2-3mm that usually comes out late in the evening and then promptly dies after a very short time.

The damage starts of green and then over time, turns to a grey-brown coloured lump.

The lifecyle of the wasp larvae is quite long, from when the wasp stings the branch and lays its eggs to when the wasp emerges, is about one year.

Initially, you may not notice the bumps, but from Autumn onwards, they are becoming much more noticeable on the citrus trees.


Let’s find out what can be done about this problem

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager


Citrus Gall Wasp damage-image Dept. of Ag. W.A.



We certainly imported a few citrus pasts in the short time that white Australians have been here, but this pest is a native that mainly only attacked finger limes.

Originally only being found in Queensland and northern NSW, but with all the movement of plants from state to state, this pest can now be found as far south as Melbourne.

If you have any questions about Citrus Gall wasps, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.


Real World Gardener Organic Herbicides on Plant Doctor

February 7th, 2017


Organic Herbicides vs Inorganic Herbicides


Weed control can be the bane of gardeners’ lives if you have weeds that continually pop up year after year.

Wouldn’t you love to dispatch them quickly without harming the environment, good bugs and wildlife in your garden?



Synthetic herbicides have a greater potential to contaminate surface water so if in the past you’ve succumbed to using systemic herbicides, here’s a good reason why you should put that down and pick up something better.

Let’s find out about what’s new. I'm talking with  Steve Falcioni, General Manager of


Slasher%2Bimage.jpgThe sprays mentioned were those with (a) Acetic acid (vinergar) and salts. (b) Pine Oil based. (c)NEW, "Slasher" based on Nonanoic which is also called Pelargonic acid and occurs naturally as asters in the oil of Pelargoniums.

The advantage of "Slasher" is that it can be used on cloudy days and during winter. Acetic acid sprays rely on sunlight to burn or dessicate the plant you spray it on.

One thing to remember, these are knock down herbicides which doesn’t remain in the soil, so if new weeds come up, you’ll have to spray them again.

Systemic sprays are absorbed into the tissue of the plants like the roots, leaves and stems.

No systemic spray is organic and Glyphosate sprays have been proven to not bye "locked " by the soil and become naturalised. 

Glyphosate should not be sprayed near wanted plants whose root systems might be touching the root system of weed.

If you have any questions Nonanoic acid in weed control, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


Real World Gardener Fixing winter rose Care part 2 in Plant Doctor

July 28th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


For hundreds of years the rose has been widely recognized as a symbol of love, sympathy or sorrow, but did you know that the rose is not only England’s national flower but from 1986, America’s as well.

Few people dislike rose

Roses for your garden photo M. Cannon

s, especially receiving or giving bunches of them.

Not everyone likes or can grow them successfully, but us gardeners still like to try.

Here’s some timely tips.

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of

Roses need to be pruned if you want plenty of flowers because they flower on new growth.

Prune your roses mid winter or in August for those districts that receive late frosts.

Quick Pruning Guide


Hybrid Teas:

For example:Papa Meilland, Peace, Sir Donald Bradman.

Prune to half of the bush and leave 3-4 canes cutting older greying canes back to the base.

If you only have 3-4 canes then leave them and hopefully you'll have new vigorous growth.

Modern Bush Roses:

For example: David Austen.

Prune by one-third but don't cut out any old canes. They need to be left like a bush.

Climbing Roses.

You should have a framework of 3-4 main canes, from which come shorter canes.

Only prune these to about 3-4 buds, about 10 cm.

Note: All pruning cuts should be sloping and about 1 cm above an outward facing bud.

Bare Rooted Roses:

Old world roses photo M. Cannon

When you receive your bare rooted roses the two most important things that get your roses off to a great start are to make sure they're in the right growing conditions and to plant them properly.

Here’s something you mightn’t know.

We usually call the sharp spikes on the stem of a rose bush "thorns", but these are in fact technically prickles.

If you have any questions about rose care or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675



Real World Gardener Fixing Camellia Disease Problems in Plant Doctor

July 8th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


If you’ve ever been travelling through Europe, or even England, Camellias aren’t one of those plants that you’re likely to come across all that much.

According the English Broadcaster and gardener Monty Don, over there, the main problem with the Camellia japonica and Camellia reticulata varieties is that, when their flowers start to fade, they cling to the shrub, looking for weeks like used tissue. The only way to deal with this is to dead-head each bloom by hand – otherwise it is like having a wonderful party then failing to tidy up afterwards.

Add caption

The combination of this extra work and the belief that most camellias were tender and therefore needed special protection meant that interest in camellias went into decline at the beginning of the 20th century.

But for us here in Australia, Camellias are one of the most popular winter- and spring-flowering shrubs, providing a vivid splash of colour when little else is in bloom.

So today we’re talking how to look after them when disease strikes these wonderful shrubs.

So let’s find out how to fix this.I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of

In this country the greatest problems are from wet winters and spring frosts, so to get away from this you need to add grit and compost to the planting hole so that the roots do not sit in wet soil.

Freezing conditions dehydrate the leaves, which lose more water as they thaw, especially if exposed to wind.

Camellia japonica Lovelight

The frozen roots mean that no water is taken up to replace this, and the result is often that the top or exposed part of the shrub dies back.

The extent of the damage will not become fully apparent until spring, when new growth appears and, if the roots are damaged, will drop and die back.

Draping fleece over the plant is a short-term remedy, but the most importantfactor is to provide permanent shelter from the wind.

If you have a camellia in a pot, wrap the pot in bubble wrap or bring it indoors in cold weather.

If you have any questions about problems with your Camellias or any other shrub, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675


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