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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Judy Sharpe: Give citrus plenty of TLC

As I write this column, it is the first day of autumn and quite summery.

So much for a change in seasons. I took Arthur – my new puppy – for time out in the garden and was overwhelmed at the amount of limes I picked – probably at least 40.

I don’t use them, but my two sons love gin and tonics, and, what is the essential ingredient – fresh limes.

I am still pondering why this little tree is so prolific, but then I remembered my son Scott’s advice to his radio listeners: apply Sudden Impact to roses as well as citrus.

They both like alkaline soil.

Now, outside of my garden, autumn is an important time in the garden calendar. Normally we need to repair the ravages of summer, which has been minimal this year.

The amount of storms and regular rainfall we have been having calls for lime on the lawn and dolomite on the gardens to sweeten the soil.

Give citrus plenty of TLC during March.

They will have been attacked by leaf miner, which causes new growth to curl. Prune back the new growth.

During March, fertilise citrus trees; once the weather has cooled, fertilise ground grown citrus with poultry manure, watering first under the drip line, then again after applying the manure. Two weeks later, apply to citrus food, using the same method.

Never use citrus food on container-grown plants as this will cause them to defoliate. Use products such as Bounceback, which are slow release.

Spring annuals will soon become available at retail outlets. This year, because the weather is cooler, it won’t hurt to plant pansies, violas and primulas early.

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