Seaweed is a great natural fertiliser containing potash, micro-nutrients and trace elements so important for healthy plant growth.
Seaweed also aids root development, disease resistance and flower set and production is a good mulch and compost activator. Purchase dried and liquid forms from nurseries.
Don’t remove seaweed from beaches as it may be illegal.
Soft scales are seen clustered along the mid-rib of leaves. Most scales produce honeydew - a sticky substance that spreads over the leaf. Sooty mold, seen as a black ash-like film over the leaves and stems, feed on this honeydew. Both pests interfere with the plant’s ability to function.
To control use PestOil, on a cool day so leaves don’t burn.
Japanese maples are lovely ornamental trees but can suffer from dieback usually the result of roots having dried out. Prune out any dead wood, keep the root system moist, not wet, and apply a mulch.
Peach trees sometimes produce double sets of fruit. The problem of double fruits, which is called twinning, is due to the lack of water after flowering especially if the tree is subjected to a dry spell. It is important to keep the soil moisture constant.
Peaches benefit from fruit thinning and it is recommended that all the double fruit be removed.
The carnivorous pitcher plants trap their victims in jug-like structures, which are developed from the leaves. The leaves mould themselves around to take on the form of a funnel, hence the name pitcher plant. Insects are attracted to the traps by the sweet tasting nectar around the rim of the pitcher.
When the unsuspecting victims fall into the pitcher they become soaked in a liquid thereby rendering them helpless. These unusual but beautiful plants come in many colour variations of green, yellow and red and are widely grown as cut flowers and houseplants.
Mulch helps to conserve water as well as controlling weeds.
It is a wise gardener who mulches around trees, both fruiting and ornamental species, knowing that this will conserve a lot of moisture that otherwise would be lost through evaporation in hot weather.
Mulch can consist of many organic materials such as straw, spoilt hay, stable or poultry manure, compost and lawn clippings.
Stable, poultry manure and lawn clippings should be composted before use.
Organic mulches encourage a buildup of earthworm populations which aerate the soil and turn the organic material into valuable nutrients for plants.