This week 4 August 2006

  • If your magnolias are opening with some badly deformed flowers, the likely cause is a possum with a taste for the buds. It will eat the centre out, leaving the bud looking fine until it tries to open. The best solution we know is high velocity inter cranial lead but if you are in town, you will have to resort to trapping. It is usually only one critter that discovers this morsel. It is not part of their staple diet. If you want to make sure you have caught the offender, you can do an autopsy (as Mark does) and examine the contents of its stomach but this is not compulsory.
  • Now is the time to prune deciduous trees of all makes and models except prunus (flowering cherries). The idea is to do this before the sap is flowing, which won’t be long. Cherries get pruned in summer because of the fear of introducing silver blight.
  • Slugs and snails are on the move. Remember that slug bait is toxic to dogs and hedgehogs and should not be laid on like fertiliser. One bait can kill a number of the slimy creatures and a little often is a great deal better than a lot in one application. Strategically placed, one bait per plant is all that is needed.
  • Harvest remaining carrots and onions now and store in the fridge or a cool place. If you don’t harvest them, they will go into growth shortly and lose their flavour and texture.
  • It is all go for planting in the vegetable garden. In sheltered warmer positions, seed and plants of most brassicas and other utility vegies including beetroot, onions, carrots and peas can all be planted.
  • Salad lettuces and lettuce mixes can be sown into the garden or, for quicker results, into trays in a covered area like a conservatory for harvesting as micro greens.
  • A light application to lawns of a nitrogen based fertiliser such as urea or Bioboost will give a quick fix to tired or yellow grass. “Light” is the key word here – spring is the main time for feeding the lawns. This application is a pick-me-up only.