How Plants Grow

Plant Environment

Soil Fundamentals

A Good Planter

Painted lady on garden flowers


Plant Fundamentals
Plant Care
Garden Design
Vegetable Garden
Gardening Gourmet

Keeping your garden plants healthy.

Enemies of your Garden plants.

      Like all living things, plants have their enemies. The gardener’s job is to prevent and cure problems to ensure a  healthy garden, without harming the environment- and there are some interesting old  techniques to try. 
        Each plant is different and it is essential that you get to know your plants so that you recognize if they are in distress and can then rapidly remedy any problem.
        When your plants are not getting what they need often discoloration to the foliage of the plant.  Also the plant's growth will slow. It will not be growing the way it was and there will be little to no new growth. Also, the plant will seem to be more sensitive to the amount of water it is getting, as well as increased sensitivity to heat and cold.  If a plant is getting too much fertilizer, then sometimes the leaves will look scorched, although this is not a problem when using natural mulch from a compost pile.
       There are specific gardening soil deficiencies that have specific symptoms, which if diagnosed, can allow the gardeners to rectify the problem and bring their plants back to health once again.  If the plants have a calcium deficiency the leaves of the plant will look hook shaped and the tips of new growth will die without seemingly without cause.  To fix this problem, mulch needs to be added that is calcium specific and the plants will soon be back to normal again.  Another deficiency that has noticeable attributes is magnesium. If there is a magnesium deficiency the leaves of the plant will turn a yellow colour.  Epson Salts will normally rectify this issue.

Insect pests

Wash off aphids: If small plants or shrubs  are infested  with aphids, sprinkle  them  with wood ash or talc. The next day hose down the plants that have been treated.
Prevent pests from climbing tree trunks: Grease bands placed around trunks at 30cm from the ground,  prevent climbing pests, such as the wingless  females  of the winter moth, from reaching the branches. Apply  the bands  from October  to January, then the moths emerge  to lay their eggs.
Welcome useful insects:  Beneficial insects,  such as ladybirds and lacewings, which feed on aphids and other  pests,  cannot prevent these  insects from proliferating  but they  ease  the problem by keeping their numbers at a manageable  level. Most helpful insects need flowers  to feed on when they reach the adult stage, so offer them the ones  they prefer:  Compositae (sunflowers,  marigolds,  asters, cosmos,  and oxeye  daisies)  or Umbelliferae  (wild carrots,  fennel and angelica).
A bird box for tits is a must:  Did you know that just two tits can keep apple maggots in check? Encourage them into your garden by putting up at least one nesting box in a quiet, sheltered spot in the garden. Its main features should be an opening 3cm in diameter and wooden walls 2cm thick.
Aphids on the run:  Aphids  are discouraged  by the extreme bitterness  of aloe, a plant from hot desert regions. Dissolve 1g of aloe resin (available from a herbalist  or hardware  shop) in one litre of water  and use a large  paintbrush  to cover the trunk and branches  of vulnerable trees with the mixture.
A sex trap for codling moths:  The caterpillars of codling moths can decimate your pear, apple and plum trees by burrowing into the mature fruit. You can buy traps baited with capsules that give off pheromones  - synthetic sexual substances similar to those  given off by the females  -  capable of attracting male  codling  moths from a great distance.  Use these from April to August to catch the male moths  and reduce  the mating  chances of the females.
Trap flies: If a swarm of tiny flies billows up as soon as you approach your pelargoniums, gerberas or busy  lizzies (Impatiens)  then white flies have probably been up to no good!
        The young larvae  of these  tiny insects eventually weaken plants by feeding  on their sap. An
alternative  to using  insecticides  is to put out sticky yellow cards  to trap the flies.
Garden plant insects
Honey Bees on garden flowers
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