This month in your garden

There are lots of bugs about now, some good and most not! Locusts are not good to have and there is nothing better than a dead one! I find that knocking them off a plant with a broom is the best way to deal with them or the leaves will be full of holes.  They surprisingly like the very tough strelitzia leaves!  They can also devour soft green foliage, spoiling unfurled canna lily leaves. For most other bugs you can spray with soapy water, or hang out those yellow sticky cards amongst your fruit trees, now that the flowers have all been pollinated. Greenfly can also make a real mess of plants.  Sometimes they cause citrus leaves to curl up as they move around them.  They also gather on rose stems, although Banksia roses do not seem to suffer that fate, perhaps because they are such early flowerers.

May is the last time to feed any fruit and nut trees until the winter. Mature trees need a dose of 20.10.10 fertiliser, 900g for large trees and smaller trees need 300g.  You may have to water the fertiliser in this month unless there is some rain. Remember when feeding that the fibrous roots are not near the trunk, so make sure that you spread it between the trunk and the edge of the tree canopy.

This is also the time to look for any mineral shortages which show in the colour of citrus leaves. If they are short of iron they will be a very light green colour, sometimes even yellow, with the veins showing up very clearly.  Two dessertspoons of iron chelate mixed in ten litres of water should be applied to the watering area around the base, to sort out this problem.  An old Cypriot remedy is to put some iron nails in the soil around the base of the tree, if you want give that a try. Zinc shortage is another problem that occurs in citrus trees and you will see this in a mottling on the leaves.  For this problem you will get better results by spraying the leaves with a mixture of a level dessertspoon of zinc chelate in five litres of water, which the tree can absorb more easily.  Spray it onto the leaves until the mixture runs off.

Other trees which suffer from the shortage of zinc are pecans and at the beginning of the year it is advisable to water 2 dessertspoons of zinc chelate mixed in 10 litres of water into the ground around the tree. Later in the year the leaves may have dark blotches on them, so spray them this time with a level dessertspoon of zinc chelate in five litres of water until the solution runs off.

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