Taking time out in the garden

CHILLED CHERRIES: A big bowl of cherries is hard to resist on a summer’s day.

SMALL fruit developing on many varieties of citrus trees during summer heralds what we’ll be enjoying during the cooler months. We can help nurture those promising fruitlets by taking a few simple citrus care steps over summer:

* Sooty mould — if you’ve noticed a black ash like film over citrus leaves or ants crawling up and down the tree, it could indicate the presence of insect pests like scale. Scale are sap sucking insects that can be covered in a waxy white, brown or pink coating and appear as small raised bumps on foliage or stems. Scale deplete plants of important sugars and nutrients and excrete honey dew, which is a sweet sticky substance that ants eat and sooty mould will grow on. If the scale insects are controlled, the sooty mould and ants will gradually disappear.

Control the scale insects by spraying leaves and stems with Yates Nature’s Way Pyrethrum, Oil Citrus and Ornamental Insect Gun. It’s based on natural pyrethrin and vegetable oil and is certified for use in organic gardening. The ornamental insect gun will also control aphids, which are another contributor to sooty mould attracting honey dew.

* Watering and feeding — deep and thorough watering of citrus trees, particularly potted citrus, will help reduce water stress, which can lead to citrus dropping their developing fruit. Application of a wetting agent like Waterwise Soil Wetter around the tree can assist water to penetrate more effectively down around the roots where it’s needed. It’s also a good opportunity to apply or top up mulch around the root zone, which will help protect the shallow root system. And regular feeding of hungry citrus trees will really help to promote a fantastic harvest so it’s important to make fertilising citrus trees a priority. Dilute 2 capfuls of Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food into a 9 litre watering can and applying over the root zone each week.

CHRISTMAS CHERRIES

Cherries are the quintessential Christmas treat, with delicious shiny red fruit becoming available in summer. A big bowl of chilled cherries is hard to resist, as are fruit and savoury salads with cherries, cherry glaze for ham, cherry puddings, cakes, tarts and cheesecake. We’re going to need a lot of cherries.

You can grow cherries at home if you live in a climate where you receive enough cooler hours. So cherries are best suited to areas with cool or cold winters and a dry spring and summer is also beneficial to help reduce the incidence of disease.

Cherry trees vary in size from around 7m tall down to more compact varieties such as Compact Stella from Waimea Nurseries that grows to around 3m, perfect for smaller gardens. In addition to delicious fruit, cherry trees also have pretty blossoms in spring and lovely autumn foliage.

Cherry trees are most commonly available in winter as bare rooted plants but potted trees can be available at other times of the year. Choose a variety that’s suited to your climate and also check to see whether that variety is self fertile or needs pollination from another cherry. They need a spot with at least 6 hours of sunshine a day and well drained soil.

Cherry pest tip: pear & cherry slugs can attack and skeletonise cherry tree foliage. They can be controlled by spraying trees thoroughly every seven days with Nature’s Way Pyrethrum.

And during or after periods of wet or humid weather, cherries and other stone fruit like apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines can be prone to brown rot. Apply fungus spray every 10-14 days to help keep this destructive disease under control.

PROTECT YOUR PLANTS

Add some beautiful bright colours into your garden during December and January and help protect your precious plants from the stresses of a long hot summer.

Gardens can suffer from heat stress or lack of water or both during our long hot summers. We can’t change the weather but there are a few things we can do to help protect our gardens during December and January.

* Effective watering. Apply a soil wetting agent like Waterwise Soil Wetter over the soil and potted plants and water it in well. This will help to break down the waxy, water repellent layer that can develop on soil and potting mix and promote better penetration of moisture down into the root zone where it’s needed.

* Mulching. Spreading mulch over garden beds, vegie patches and on the top of pots will help to reduce the amount of moisture lost from the soil. It also helps to protect the soil surface from the baking summer sun.

* Find the shade. Move sensitive potted plants into a more shaded location, where they are sheltered from the harshest afternoon sun.

* Apply seaweed tonic Thrive Natural Seaweed Tonic, made from 100 percent sustainably sourced bull kelp, is great for helping to improve plant resistance against heat and drought as well as aiding recovery from stress conditions.

NZ CHRISTMAS TREE

The festive season heralds the vibrant colour of New Zealand Christmas tree Pohutukawa.

Its stunning red flowers are a feature of New Zealand’s coastline in mid summer and are a rich source of nectar for bees and native birds.

Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsea) can be started from seed and will eventually grow to around 5-8m tall when mature. There are also new dwarf varieties that grow to a much more compact 1-3m and can be planted into containers or grown as a dense hedge. They’re hardy plants, tolerating dry, coastal and full sun conditions.

Native plants like Pohutukawa will benefit from being fed each spring and autumn with Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. It’s a pelletised blend of composted chicken manure, blood & bone, fishmeal and seaweed and releases organic nutrients slowly to gently feed plants.

— Courtesy of Yates

SMALL fruit developing on many varieties of citrus trees during summer heralds what we’ll be enjoying during the cooler months. We can help nurture those promising fruitlets by taking a few simple citrus care steps over summer:

* Sooty mould — if you’ve noticed a black ash like film over citrus leaves or ants crawling up and down the tree, it could indicate the presence of insect pests like scale. Scale are sap sucking insects that can be covered in a waxy white, brown or pink coating and appear as small raised bumps on foliage or stems. Scale deplete plants of important sugars and nutrients and excrete honey dew, which is a sweet sticky substance that ants eat and sooty mould will grow on. If the scale insects are controlled, the sooty mould and ants will gradually disappear.

Control the scale insects by spraying leaves and stems with Yates Nature’s Way Pyrethrum, Oil Citrus and Ornamental Insect Gun. It’s based on natural pyrethrin and vegetable oil and is certified for use in organic gardening. The ornamental insect gun will also control aphids, which are another contributor to sooty mould attracting honey dew.

* Watering and feeding — deep and thorough watering of citrus trees, particularly potted citrus, will help reduce water stress, which can lead to citrus dropping their developing fruit. Application of a wetting agent like Waterwise Soil Wetter around the tree can assist water to penetrate more effectively down around the roots where it’s needed. It’s also a good opportunity to apply or top up mulch around the root zone, which will help protect the shallow root system. And regular feeding of hungry citrus trees will really help to promote a fantastic harvest so it’s important to make fertilising citrus trees a priority. Dilute 2 capfuls of Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food into a 9 litre watering can and applying over the root zone each week.

CHRISTMAS CHERRIES

Cherries are the quintessential Christmas treat, with delicious shiny red fruit becoming available in summer. A big bowl of chilled cherries is hard to resist, as are fruit and savoury salads with cherries, cherry glaze for ham, cherry puddings, cakes, tarts and cheesecake. We’re going to need a lot of cherries.

You can grow cherries at home if you live in a climate where you receive enough cooler hours. So cherries are best suited to areas with cool or cold winters and a dry spring and summer is also beneficial to help reduce the incidence of disease.

Cherry trees vary in size from around 7m tall down to more compact varieties such as Compact Stella from Waimea Nurseries that grows to around 3m, perfect for smaller gardens. In addition to delicious fruit, cherry trees also have pretty blossoms in spring and lovely autumn foliage.

Cherry trees are most commonly available in winter as bare rooted plants but potted trees can be available at other times of the year. Choose a variety that’s suited to your climate and also check to see whether that variety is self fertile or needs pollination from another cherry. They need a spot with at least 6 hours of sunshine a day and well drained soil.

Cherry pest tip: pear & cherry slugs can attack and skeletonise cherry tree foliage. They can be controlled by spraying trees thoroughly every seven days with Nature’s Way Pyrethrum.

And during or after periods of wet or humid weather, cherries and other stone fruit like apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines can be prone to brown rot. Apply fungus spray every 10-14 days to help keep this destructive disease under control.

PROTECT YOUR PLANTS

Add some beautiful bright colours into your garden during December and January and help protect your precious plants from the stresses of a long hot summer.

Gardens can suffer from heat stress or lack of water or both during our long hot summers. We can’t change the weather but there are a few things we can do to help protect our gardens during December and January.

* Effective watering. Apply a soil wetting agent like Waterwise Soil Wetter over the soil and potted plants and water it in well. This will help to break down the waxy, water repellent layer that can develop on soil and potting mix and promote better penetration of moisture down into the root zone where it’s needed.

* Mulching. Spreading mulch over garden beds, vegie patches and on the top of pots will help to reduce the amount of moisture lost from the soil. It also helps to protect the soil surface from the baking summer sun.

* Find the shade. Move sensitive potted plants into a more shaded location, where they are sheltered from the harshest afternoon sun.

* Apply seaweed tonic Thrive Natural Seaweed Tonic, made from 100 percent sustainably sourced bull kelp, is great for helping to improve plant resistance against heat and drought as well as aiding recovery from stress conditions.

NZ CHRISTMAS TREE

The festive season heralds the vibrant colour of New Zealand Christmas tree Pohutukawa.

Its stunning red flowers are a feature of New Zealand’s coastline in mid summer and are a rich source of nectar for bees and native birds.

Pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsea) can be started from seed and will eventually grow to around 5-8m tall when mature. There are also new dwarf varieties that grow to a much more compact 1-3m and can be planted into containers or grown as a dense hedge. They’re hardy plants, tolerating dry, coastal and full sun conditions.

Native plants like Pohutukawa will benefit from being fed each spring and autumn with Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. It’s a pelletised blend of composted chicken manure, blood & bone, fishmeal and seaweed and releases organic nutrients slowly to gently feed plants.

— Courtesy of Yates

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