Summer pests out with a vengeance


Well, hard to believe, but this is my last column for this year.  

Merry Christmas to you all before I start handing out jobs for the next couple of weeks.

Summer pests are out with a vengeance, the worst of these being mealy bug which presents as sticky cotton wool and can be hard to beat – it hides deep down in folds or where stems join branches.

Some organic products target this pest, but not always with success. I prefer white oil and Malathon, which also solves the problem of scale insects, as well as those nasty stink bugs which invade citrus trees.

As tomatoes ripen, fruit fly will begin to attack, although this year I have had many enquiries about green grubs eating the fruit which could be eliminated with tomato dust. Fruit fly are now a huge problem as many insecticides have been removed from use – the only solutions now are traps and sticky baits.

Early intervention helps to paint the tomato stake with a paintable mix of Vegemite and Malathon, which attracts the female fly.

I am surprised that army grub has begun early this year, although they are prolific when summer is dry!

Apply relevant products late in the afternoon and water lightly to carry it through to the roots, then apply again in about 10 days to catch the next hatching cycle.

Bees, as we are all becoming aware, are important in life’s cycle and even the safest of sprays can be injurious to bees.

Always spray late in the afternoon when bees, hopefully, have gone to bed.

One last job after Christmas. Those families who have purchased a living Christmas tree – when the festivities are over, please don’t plunge the tree back out into the full sun.

Ease the long-suffering tree from total shade to full sun over a few weeks.

Please water it well, hose off the Christmas dust and give it a healthy drink of a foliant fertiliser such as Flourish.

This week

  • Prune Golden Duranta hedges tightly to maintain summer growth.
  • Cut back heads of hydrangeas burnt by the heat – only cut the flowers, leave the stems for new blooms.
  • Don’t panic about dry lawns, a couple of quick showers and it will green up. I am saving my water for delicate or newly planted shrubs in my garden.
  • Watch using grey water – only use it on lawns, particularly don’t use it on vegetable gardens or fruit producing trees.

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