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Winter gardening – looking after your tender plants

November 21st, 2016 · No Comments

As winter starts the drawing in there’s a couple of jobs in the garden you can do to make sure your more tender plants survive the winter. The key to helping tender plants survive in the winter it’s to stop or cut down the wind chill factor as it’s often not the actual temperature that kills plants it’s the lowering of the air temperature by the wind causing wind chill factor which has a much lower temperature than the actual ground or still air temperature.
The two main methods to cut down the wind speed is creating a temporary windbreak with a protective netting material placed around the plants on the windward side to filter the wind and create a microclimate and secondly to use horticultural fleece to wrap up such plants as tree ferns and other tender plants

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Disease problems with apple trees

November 21st, 2016 · No Comments

Many of our viewers and members apple trees are having problems with a bacterial infection with climate change fungal and bacteria diseases and infections have spread and are enjoying the damper milder climate. Most of the chemicals for the treatment have been withdrawn from sale because of EEC rules . So the cure is largely down to cultural methods.
Firstly on a dry day I would treat the infected areas with yellow sulfur
http://www.vitax.co.uk/home-garden/vitax-yellow-sulphur/
Next then when the leaves have fallen prune all the dead and diseased wood from the trees rake up the leaves and burn them or place them in the rubbish bin – do not compost them as the fungal spores can survive being dormant for years.
Then treat the trees with a winter wash to help remove the over wintering spores and over wintering pest eggs http://www.vitax.co.uk/winter-tree-wash/
In spring you need to feed the trees with Growmore fertilzer adding a couple of handfuls of feed around the base also its a good idea to sow a few tagetes seeds around the base these are a type of marigold that releases a scent that helps keep the pests away mainly aphids which can spread the fungal spores etc

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Over Wintering Geraniums In A Cold Green House.

September 24th, 2016 · No Comments

Question
Please could you tell me the best way to over winter geraniums in a cold greenhouse? Thank you.
Answer
Over wintering geraniums in a cold green house is simple as long as you follow these steps. Firstly, pot you geraniums up if they are not already in pots, then over the months of october and November reduce the watering until the compost it almost dry. Secondly, prune the plants back to remove all the soft growth, the material removed can be used as softwood stem cuttings. In the green house the plants are best covered with a fleece to help maintain an even temperature during the day and stop any frost damage at night. If the forecast is for heavy frost then you might have to take the plants inside your house for a few days or heat the green house to provide frost protection. Finally, and most importantly you need to ventilate the greenhouse as often as the weather allows in order to help keep down the moisture and damp, as this will help stop the spread of fungal disease. Keep an eye open for moulds on the plants stems and if you see any mould remove the branch and place in a bin not on the compost heap. For More information click here

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Moving A Tree Peony.

September 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Tree peony – they hate being moved and are know to sulk if they are.However if you are desperate to move it then you need to did as big a hole as possible and the best time would be now or in the autumn.Bear in mind that it will need to be well watered throughout the summer if you move it now and during its first year after moving. One final point the roots of a tree peony are very soft so do not move it when the ground has the slightest hint of frost.

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Moving A Monkey Puzzle Tree.

September 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Monkey puzzle tree if its under 2 metres high the best thing would be to dig a trench around it this now and back fill with friable compost and then plan to move it in the autumn.This is to induce a more fibrous root system before it gets moved.The best time to trasplant it would be June next year. Being an evergreen and not having a dormant season as such, it might be a good idea to to clog up its stomata (the breathing holes in the leaves) with an Anti-Transpirant spray.This spray would be sprayed on prior to the actual moving of the tree. It still allows the tree to photosynthesise and has no long term effects. Once moved the tree would need to be watered during the first year of establishment.If you are short of time then dig the biggest hole possible and transport as much of the root ball as you can.To the back fill add some bonemeal and good quality compost.The bottom and sides of the new hole should be forked as much as possible so that the roots can grow away well. Water well.

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Moving A Privet Hedge.

September 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Moving a privet hedge this is best carried out in the autumn or spring before the private starts to send out new shoots.Your best bet is to try to move it with as much of the root ball as possible.Easing the root-ball onto plastic sheeting to transport it is a good way to try and keep the root ball intact. Prepare the planting holes prior to planting so that the root ball is exposed to the elements for the minimum amount of time.Mix some compost and bone-meal into the back fill soil.Make sure the planting hole is well forked at the bottom.You could try mixing some ready hydrated Super-gel to the back-fill to reduce the risk of the newly planted hedge drying out.You will need to water during dry times and during its first year after moving.

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Best Time To Prune Holly.

July 15th, 2016 · No Comments

When to prune your Holly the best time is during the summer – July and August is an ideal time.If however you want to promote bushiness then you can prune in June so that there is more time left during the growing season for them to bush out.If pruned in the winter months holly often can be damaged by the winter frosts burning the cut ends of the stems which in turn can create a weak spot from which disease or pests can take hold.

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Frosted Bottle Brush.

July 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Frosted bottle brush all I think you can do is wait and see.Come spring it may well start sprouting again.You could possibly protect it now with horticultural fleece, however the worst of the damage has probably been done.In the spring the way to tell where there is live wood is to start at the tips and scratch back the bark with your finger nail.If the wood is green then you know that you have live wood if it is dull – then the wood is dead and you can cut back that bit.Alternatively you can leave until you see new growth and cut back to that point.

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Climbing Plants For A North-Facing Wall.

July 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Most Clematis are fairly good natured about a north-facing siting, and they are fast growing – Clematis montana has a profusion of pinkish flowers in spring and Clematis armandii has a very attractive smallish white flower and has an early spring flowering.Or you could try Pyracantha orange glow,which has a small white flower and very showy orange berries.Climbing hydrangeas particularly like a north facing wall;they are lovely once they are established,but they are slow developers and can sometimes take some years to flower.Many of the lonicera (honeysuckle) family will establish well and fast on a northfacing wall or fence.

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Easy Inexpensive Garden Plants In Pots.

July 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Starting to garden there are many great plants that can be grown in pots relatively inexpensively. Herbs generally come in 9cm pots from garden centres and can be used in cooking too.I like to make a herb pot with sage, thyme, marjoram and fennel planted at the back.These plants will eventually out grow the pot but the combination of foliage and flowers go well together for a season or two.If you want flower power,then when danger of frost is passed you can pick up boxed bedding busy lizzies which will flower their socks off until the frosts in the autumn.If you are looking for bigger shrubs then you can plant Skimmias or bay plants.Skimmia Rubella is often available as a small plant for window boxes and in time will grow into a neat dome with fragrant flowers in the spring.You can also sow seed in pots – I like sowing annuals Thompson and Morgan have a great selection of seeds many of them easy to grow,Nasturtiums always do quite well. Good luck!

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Meconopsis Betonicifolia From Seed.

July 7th, 2016 · No Comments

Sow February to July at around 15C (60F) on the surface of a free draining, sterile, damp peat/sand mix compost.Light is required for germination so do not cover the seeds – just gently press the seeds onto the surface of the seed compost. High humidity is required – cover the seeds with a transparent propagator lid or even a clear plastic bag.The seeds germinate rapidly – you should seed some activity at around 4 weeks, certainly by 8 weeks. If you don’t see any seedlings by then,place the propagation tray in a refrigerator for 3-4 weeks to pre-chill.Controlling the temperature is all important as high temperatures will hinder germination.

The seedlings are quite delicate and small when they first emerge – do not disturb them.They are also very prone to damping off. Hence, a sterile, well drainig medium is important.Prick out the seedlings when they have developed their first true leaves and grow them on at between 8 and 10° C until they are well developed plants.Then,harden off prior to transplanting out in their permanent sites.

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Damaged And Wilting Tree Ferns.

July 5th, 2016 · No Comments

Quite a few people are concerned about their tree ferns, with fronds that have lost colour and become blackened, or are curled and brown.Because of the particularly cold winter we’ve just had, it is likely that these ferns have been ice and frost damaged,and if the plants have not been able to dry out sufficiently, they may have been attacked by a fungus.Scrape out the mushy areas – but not too vigorously as you need to protect new and tender growth – and then try sprinkling the plant lightly with sulphur powder,which you can get from a chemist or a garden centre.It will take about three weeks to see if the fern has recovered.Flies can also be attracted by the fungus.As a winter protection, we generally recommend a fleece rather than a material like straw, which can sometimes create unfavourably humid conditions.If you use a fleece,you can remove it on mild winter days, to allow the plant to dry out a bit.Even now we are getting late frosts,so it might be an idea to invest in some fleecing, to protect the plant at night.

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Weed Control.

July 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

Question
What is the best way to control weeds? Which is the best fabric, a polyethylene type fabric or hessian?
Answer
For weed control,the fabric we recommend is one from Tenax.co.uk and can be found in B&Q.There are other forms but they tend to rot very quickly. If you need to create an old style, to fit in with the type of house,I would suggest covering the sheeting in bark or wood chips.
For More information click here

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Yellowing Cherry Laurel Leaves After Planting.

July 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

Yellowing cherry laurel leaves on newly planted plants on last seasons growth tends to indicate that the plant has suffered a shock or being checked during the transplanting or planting.It could also be the shock of winter winds so in this case in the spring we recommend feeding all the plants now with a handful of growmore fertiliser around the base of each plant,and as the spring season gets underway keep them well watered and they should grow away and recover.

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Ants In The Garden – Tips On Control.

July 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Ants can cause concern but they are a nuisance rather than destructive pests.They feed mainly on insects,including other ants.They also look for the sweet liquid known as honeydew,which is excreted by aphids and some other sap-feeding insects.

Ants can protect aphids from attack by ladybirds and other predators in order to secure their supply of honeydew.Increased numbers of aphids may result in more damage to plants.However,ants do little damage to plants themselves, except by disturbing soil around plant roots and depositing it on the surface during their nest building activities.Some ants(mostly Myrmica species – commonly known as red ants)can sting,but for most people this is no more than a minor irritation.

Ant nests contain one or more fertile female ants,known as Queen Ants, which lay eggs in brood chambers within the nest.Most of the other ants in a nest are smaller sterile females,which are known as worker ants.Their role is to maintain,guard and enlarge the nest,feed the larvae and to gather food for the colony.The white maggot-like larvae are fed on a liquid diet secreted by the worker ants. When fully fed,the larvae turn into pupae.Some species of ants pupate inside spindle-shaped whitish-brown silk cocoons.These cocoons are often mistakenly referred to as ‘ant eggs’.

The real eggs are very small and not easily seen with the naked eye.At certain times of year,ant nests produce winged ants.These are young Queens and male ants,which often emerge en masse from nests during humid weather in the Summer.These fly up and mate, after which the males die and the young queens try to find a suitable place where they can establish a new nest. Once mated, the queen ant no longer needs wings, so they are bitten off.

Unless their nests are particularly troublesome,ants are best left alone.If a colony is destroyed it is likely that its place will be taken by incoming queen ants,which take over the territory and establish new nests.Disperse ant heaps on lawns by brushing the excavated soil on a dry day before the lawn is mown,otherwise the soil will get smeared on the lawn surface by the mower.If the lawn has an uneven surface due to years of ant activity,peel back the turf in the raised areas,remove excess soil and relay the turf. This is easier to do in the winter when ants are less active.

Many proprietary ant powders, baits, sprays and aerosols are available for controlling ants in and near buildings,but these are not suitable for general garden use.To make a real impression on ant numbers it would be necessary to destroy the nests rather than just the foraging ants.That is difficult to achieve as ant nests occupy a much larger volume of soil than might be suggested by the small heaps of soil excavated on to the surface.

A pathogenic nematode, Steinernema feltiae, is available from some mail order suppliers of Biological controls for treating ant nests in lawns and flower beds.The microscopic worm-like nematodes are watered into the soil in places where ants are bringing soil up onto the surface.

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Prevent The Spread of Snowberry In You Garden.

July 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Prevent the spread of snowberry in your garden,the best way to stop snowberries spreading in your garden is to use roundup weed killer by applying it to the new sheets that appear.The round up weed killer will travel back up the stems and kill the roots.Round up weed killer is available from homebase or most garden centers.

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Creating Garden Borders.

July 1st, 2016 · No Comments

When creating a Shrub Border in an existing lawn, there are a few steps that one would have to follow.Here at GardenAdvice,our experts recommend to gardeners performing this exercise,to take the following steps in order to make this task as simple and straightforward as possible.

Firstly mark out the area with a hose pipe or length of rope to create the Border’s shape or edge.

Next treat the grass where the border is going to be formed with ‘Round Up’ weedkiller to kill the grass. Leave for 2 days and then add some organic matter to the bed area and dig over and level.Once you have reached this stage dig around the border to form an edge then cover with weed sheeting and cover the sheeting with a bark mulch.

Finally you can set the plants out on the border, scrap the bark,cut a cross in the sheeting and then plant the plants through the weed sheeting, replacing the bark around the plants once they have been planted .

As another one of our wide range of services here at GardenAdvice the GardenAdvice Team is offering The Garden Visiting Service to provide you with expert gardening advice at home.
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Fungus In Your Raised Vegetable Beds.

July 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Fungus as toadstools or mushrooms in your raised beds normally is not a problem and should not do the vegetables or you any harm.Most raised beds are filled with soil and compost or some other form of organic mater which is broken down by a number of elements including fungus,most of the time you do not see the fungus as it all happens under ground but when the conditions are right the fungus will produce fruiting bodies with are the mushroom and toadstools you see.So in general its a good thing to see some mushrooms/ toad stools in your raised beds as the organic mater is being broken down which in turn will release natural nutrients to the vegetables.

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Overwintering Geraniums.

July 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Overwintering geraniums – As the season draws to a close its time to save you summer geraniums before the hard frosts arrive.To do this dig up you geranium plants and cut them back to the main structure of the plant just leaving a frame work of the larger branches.The softer grow removed can be used to create softwood cuttings.
click here for more details.
With the remaining plants pruned back pot them us into large boxes or pots with a John Inness soil based compost making sure the compost is quite dry. Then place them on or near a window sill in a cool frost free area overwinter.Water very lightly every two weeks to stop them totally drying out.Then you will find in February to early March they will have produced a number of shoots that can be again used for softwood cuttings.Then at the end of March re-pot the plants and start to water and feed them before planting them out into the final bedding positions in the garden or your tubs.One final point whilst over wintering the geraniums keep an eye open for fungal infections and remove any dead of damaged leaves or stems.

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The Money Plant And Winter.

July 1st, 2016 · No Comments

Winter time is known to be a challenging time for plants, due to the change of climate and differing temperatures. However there are some plants that enjoy cool conditions.

For the Money Plant though the minimum winter temperature needs to be around 50 deg F. The plant actually originated in the Solomon Islands and is grown widely across Asia, so with the best will in the world it is unlikely to survive a winter outside in the UK. If you really need to try to do this, fleece is a big help, but just as importantly, the pot needs to be insulated or buried in the ground.
To ensure continuity, cuttings now need to be taken and kept in
a warm bright place for the Winter.

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