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Wellington Gardens Blog


Spring in the garden

Sep 2

Written by:
Wednesday, September 2, 2015  RssIcon

Spring in the garden:

Well its officially spring now, and the weather is warmer, even if it is still wet. Under these warm, wet conditions, your lawn and garden will start to take off. So unfortunately will the weeds! You can be sure when you see new growth on your roses, that the weeds are not far behind.


You should have finished pruning your roses and fruit trees by now, including kiwifruit and grapes. If you prune these two climbers too close to spring, you will get sap bleed. It is like turning on a tap, as the sap pours out of the cuts. Other plants to do this include silver birch. While it won’t kill the plant, it does knock it back. It is better to prune anytime other than late winter early spring.

If we get a wet spring, it can play havoc with your roses. At times my roses have lost all their leaves due to the wet weather with a disease called downy mildew. Downy mildew usually shows up as white downy patches on the undersides of the leaves, and yellow patches on the upper leaves.  Roses also get black spot and rust diseases, which show up as rusty patches or black spots on the leaves as the names suggest.  There is not much you can do about very wet weather, except make sure your roses are in a well drained site with plenty of compost, and they have plenty of air movement. If you have infected leaves remove them from the soil and don’t compost them. For downy mildew, you can apply a fungicide, or as an alternative try washing soda (100g washing soda, 50g pure soap and 4.5l water). Apply copper oxychloride for black spot and rust.


Lawns are starting to grow well now. You may find porina is a problem. If you see bare patches and little holes in the lawn you have porina caterpiller. It emerges from its hole at night and chomps away on your grass blades.  You have some choices. You can encourage the birds to eat them, or you can apply chemicals.  Birds may be partially effective, but the porina usually wins. If you want a quick fix chemical use Diazinon granules or Pyrifos, but take care and keep animals and young children away from it for a few days. Dimilin is a biological control method. It basically causes the caterpillar to stop moulting. It is slow acting, and you need to buy a minimum amount, which will last a while!  It does concern me that a lot of people overuse Diazinon, as you can get resistance whenever you keep using a chemical, and then the porina keep getting worse each year. If you do use it make sure you get a good coverage, to kill all the caterpillars.  If your lawn is a bit slippery, you can spread untreated sawdust over it. Also, it is time in the next few weeks to apply a lawn fertiliser, preferably a slow release one.   


A few stand out plants at the moment are Viburnum burkwoodii, with its scented flowers. Similarly, Daphne are flowering, along with a favourite of mine, Clematis paniculata. Camellias are looking good, and daffodils are rearing their lovely heads. Before you know it, Christmas will be here again!

Daphne odora Leucanthe


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