Finally we have a new preventative for the infuriating gall wasp that has been decimating our citrus, lemon trees in particular, across Victoria.
‘Overhaul’ is an organically* rated kaolin clay (used in papermaking and ceramics) and has been used in broad-acre agriculture to reduce heat stress and sunburn in tree and horticultural crops (e.g. tomatoes) for 18 years; in that time an unexpected secondary benefit has become apparent: the fine coating of clay resulted in less insect damage to crops. It is hypothesised that the clay works in a variety of way depending on the insect: repelling, reducing egg laying, impeding grasping, restricting movement, altering behaviour, inducing paralysis and mortality, and camouflaging the plant. Whichever way it works, trials by the NSW Dept. of Agriculture in the Riverland and Sunraysia have found it significantly reduces the incidence of galls (from Citrus Gall Wasp) in their citrus trees. Both number and size of galls are reduced (70-90%).
Citrus gall wasps (Bruchophagus fellis) are small (3mm) shiny black wasps native to northern Australia. There they have natural predators (two parasites) which keep the number of gall wasps under control. As the wasps have gradually moved south (thought to be via the movement of infected citrus trees), they have appeared in many areas without their natural predators, and consequently have exploded in numbers and caused considerable damage.
The chemicals commonly used to control codling moth also kill beneficial insect species, which contribute to biological control of other pests. Consequently increased chemical sprays are required for control of other pests. The most successful way to avoid this problem is to use Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using a combination of pheromones and sticky traps, good orchard hygiene and traps will help you avoid the revolting coddling moth.
Winter can be a challenge, but it sure puts a rosy hue in your cheeks when you rug up, brave the elements and go about doing some of those winter gardening tasks which have been beckoning from outside. Enjoy a warm drink – and the satisfaction of a job well done – when you come inside.
Bare rooted plants are field grown plants which have been dug up from the soil in their dormant state, no soil remains attached to the remaining root mass, hence the term ‘bare rooted’. Read on if you’d like a head start on all things bare rooted.
We have been run off our feet in the nursery with the Covid 19 garden rush. However, I finally got time to fertilise, and plant some more spring bulbs. Nearly all the leaves are raked up, so now there is just the fun of a nice cut back and shaping prune left to do. I just love this time of year: the satisfaction of a major clean and tidy up in the garden, planting for spring with all the hopes and promise ahead, the camellias in bloom and debating squeezing in just one more gorgeous tree only available in the bare root season. Read on!
Autumn foliage at its most stunning. The cold days and nights bring out the deep reds, translucent oranges and butter yellows in our wonderful deciduous trees. Take the time to enjoy autumn’s late flowering salvias, wonderful quince fruit (with their heady scent) and savour the late season apples. Normally I would recommend driving to the Dandenongs to enjoy the autumn colours and the flowering camellias – but these days it will have to be a remote visit. I just love this last hurrah before winter. So rug up and enjoy May in your garden!
Our customer base is a pretty savvy and well informed one, and this is always reinforced in autumn as sales of native plants soar. Good gardeners are well aware that this is the ideal time to plant natives, and suddenly Claire is doubling orders for natives as they walk off the bench. The weather can still provide us with warm days in April, but without the hot sun and with rain happening or imminent it’s an ideal time for gardening and planting. Now is also the perfect time to start preparing your winter vegie patch. There’s plenty to do in the garden in April, so put summer behind you and get cracking!
The glory of autumn foliage from the hundreds of tree varieties introduced to Australia is only one good reason to grow deciduous trees. The bare trees of winter, stark but beautiful, are also valued for their ability to provide change to the scenery. They let through the much needed winter sunlight to benefit lawns, garden beds and outdoor living spaces; and in summer they give shade to these areas.
20th March to 26th April
A collection of tin frocks, ‘accessories’ and wire creations by Regina Dudek. Regina loves to “rescue” old pieces of metal, wire and discarded household items and give them a new life. Her sculptural pieces are quirky, whimsical and fun.
More pictures and info at http://gallery.baag.com.au/?p=4378
If you have sandy soil, you will be well aware of their difficulties in holding both water and nutrition. Gardeners who live in Perth are used to dealing with this issue, and every garden centre, soil and landscaping yard there will have bags and buckets of bentonite, as well as compost, manures, zeolite and other soil additives to help build a better soil.
Is autumn the new spring?
With the changes in climate leading to hotter summers here in Melbourne, it is increasingly tempting to plant in autumn, and allow plants a longer time to establish before the onslaught of summer heat. The combination of warm soil, expected rainfall and lowering seasonal temperatures allows for good root development. This increases the time the plants have to establish before the dry summer heat hits.
Queensland fruit fly is a significant pest that has been found in areas of Victoria for a few years now. Recently there is evidence the fly is establishing itself in Melbourne and surrounds. It feeds on a wide range of fruits and vegetables, and is understandably causing a great deal of anxiety for both home gardeners and commercial growers. Queensland fruit fly from the start of spring and through summer and autumn. They are able to survive mild winters as well.
As I write this in mid January, thunderstorms have hit Melbourne, lightning has started a fire in the Otways and floods and downed trees will be creating yet more work for the indefatigable SES volunteers. The firefighters in the CFA and MFB have been extraordinary in their bravery, dedication and skill, now aided by the military. The bush fires started in NSW in September, QLD followed shortly after and fires hit eastern Victoria, SA and WA in late December. It has been a hellish summer. We are only half way through. If you want to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal, 100% will go directly to the affected communities.