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.

Avocado%2Bleaves%2Bmoderate%2Bfrost%2Bda

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 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 Beat the Lily Caterpillar in Plant Doctor

October 19th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

Lily Caterpillar

Lily%2Bcaterpillar%2Band%2Bdamage.jpgThe secret to controlling pests in the garden is to understand their life cycle, and watch for early signs of infestation so they can be stopped in their tracks before they become a problem.

The first sign of infestation this next plant pest is the skeletonising of leaves. 

In the adult stage the parent (lily moth) lays up to 100 eggs at a time on the tip of a leaf, and the growing (pest) caterpillars then work their way down to the base of the plant.

These voracious pests ( caterpillars) can destroy a clump of clivias or other lilies in record time.

Lily caterpillars are a native pest common along the east coast of Australia but can be seen in other regions. Generally a dark grey to black colour with yellow and white markings down the side.; about 5 cm long.

 

The adult moth is like your average brown moth with a wing span of around 5 cm and can lay up to 100 eggs at a time.

Let’s find out all about this pest.

I'm talking withSteve Falcioni, general manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

PLAY : Lily Caterpillar_11th October_2017

The Lily caterpillar attacks clivea, crinums, hippeastrums, the spider lily (hymenocallis) and other plants in the lily family.

Young caterpillars skeletonise leaves while older ones can strip leaves or attack the crown of the plant. Clivia_miniata2.jpg

Very quickly plants are an ugly mess of caterpillars, droppings and collapsing plant foliage. Attacked foliage dies and leaves the plants looking very unsightly.

Lily Caterpillar, calagramma picta, pupate under mulch and then travel up the stems of many types of lilies, munching as they go - eating leaves, stems and flower buds.

Caterpillars pupate in leaf litter or the soil before emerging as adult moths to start the cycle again. There are several generations a year with the most damage noticed during the warmer months.

Look for the caterpillars on the underside as well as the tops of the leaves.

Damage caused by the lily caterpillar is severe and can result in plant death.

Plants which survive usually take a long time to recover.

If you have any questions about growing your own turmeric, then 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 NEW Tomato Pest in Plant Doctor

September 29th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

New Pest: Tomato-potato psyllid

A new pest that could be coming to your garden soon is not something we gardeners would be glad to hear about.

But it has been detected in Australia and New Zealand so it’s something we need to be on the lookout for because it seems to combine the damage of a couple of pests.

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Worse than that, it attacks plants from the Solanaceae family, like tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes, and even some plants in the Lamiaceae like Catmint.

 

Let’s find out all about it….

I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, general manager of www.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

 

PLAY : Tomato_potato psyllid_20th September_2017

This new pest is something to watch out for and possibly a good time to take a hand lens with you out into the garden to have a closer look at the pests. 

The distinctive dame is when you see leaves that have curled up from the edge.

There is other damage as well that is similar to aphid and mite damage combined.

What does it look like?

The adults are 2-3mm in length or aphid size.

The main body is grey with some white markings. Click on the link below to see a photo.

Tomato-potato psyllid

The important distinction is the clear wings which sit at 45 degrees, almost like a mini cicadas wings or the peak of a house.

If you have any questions about this new pest; the tomato-potato psyllid, then 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 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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Real World Gardener 28th January Citrus Gall Wasp in Plant Doctor

March 24th, 2017

PLANT DOCTOR

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.

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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 ofwww.ecoorganicgarden.com.au

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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 realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2RRR P.O. Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

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