This week 8 Dec 2006

  • The run of bad weather has been most unkind to roses. Removing spoiled foliage and sludgy blooms will help reduce disease. Prune back to a leaf bud if there are no more flower buds and let the rose come again, hopefully in a sunny spell for repeat flowering types. Keeping air circulation around the roses also helps to keep fungi and bacteria at bay so try not to let other plants cuddle up too close.
  • Wisterias need a summer prune to keep them under control and to maximise flower bud set for next spring. Work out which are the main leaders and remove all the rampant spring growth back to four or five leaf buds from the main stems. Don’t worry if this seems extreme – they will stage a comeback and need their winter prune as well. The summer prune is less precise and can be done with hedgeclippers if you are in a hurry. Keep an eye open for borer holes while you do this. Pouring a bit of cooking oil will smother anything down the hole or you can fill the hole with flyspray.
  • The wisteria summer pruning regime also applies to apple trees. Hedgeclippers are better than nothing.
  • Keep an eye on container plants. They dry out very quickly from here on through summer, especially if they are rootbound and it is very difficult to get the plant to absorb water if it dries out too much. Liquid feed containers and baskets which are full of hungry annuals or perennials. Shrubs which have been planted with slow release do not generally need liquid feeding as well.
  • If you have any convolvulus, you should have sprayed it two weeks ago when it was starting to advance. But better now than leaving it. If it is around special plants, use Roundup but otherwise Banvine is the best option.
  • If you are battling wandering jew, get in now while it is flushing and in full growth. Deal to it now before it becomes four times the size. Amitrol or Grazon are the best spray options. Roundup doesn’t touch it. If you are hand pulling it, you have to get every last piece out and load it in to a black plastic rubbish bag and cook it in the sun. Under no circumstances throw it over the bank. Every piece will grow again.
  • Get in main crop potatoes now and plant pumpkins before it is too late. It is still all on to plant tomatoes, corn and runner beans while keeping successional sowings of broad beans, peas and lettuces going.