Garden lore January 2, 2015

“Jack used to curse the front lawn as if it were a living thing…[He] hated the front yard because he thought it was against him. There had been a beautiful lawn there when Jack came along but he let it wander off into nothing. He refused to water it or take care of it in any way.
Now the ground was so hard it gave his car flat tires in the summer. The yard was always finding a nail to put into one of his tires or the car was always was always sinking out of sight in the winter when the rains came on.”

Richard Brautigan The Revenge of the Lawn (1971).
???????????????????????????????Garden lore: lemon problems
If your lemons look like this, you have problems. We have problems. Not only did much of the fruit rot and fall, but the tree has also lost rather a lot of its leaves which is not good for it. The plant relies on having foliage to keep it well and growing strongly. There are a number of reasons for rotting fruit and defoliation including Brown Rot and anthracnose but the first call of action is to reach for a remedial copper spray. Had our lemon tree been given its preventative winter copper spray, it would not have looked like this.

One dead branch is often an indication of borer damage. We tend to deal with this simply by cutting off the offending limb but we have never had to deal with it threatening the entire tree. It is of course the burrowing larvae that cause the damage (as they do in wisterias), not the flying insect. If you see sawdust either on the ground below or on a branch, it is a sign of an active grub. You need to find the hole and pour in some treatment. Some recommend diesel or kerosene but we are not so keen on putting those into the plant. I have used both cooking oil and CRC (the can of the latter comes with a handy long tube to direct it) which smothers the grub. Flyspray can work. Mark prefers Decis which is one of the safest insecticides, being a synthetic pyrethroid which is also the active ingredient in fly spray.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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