Sustainable Gardening

By: Mick O’Brien. Dip.Hort(MAIH) RH-101
Welcome to our latest gardening articles written by a passionate local horticulturist for our equally passionate local gardening community living on Bribie Island and Surrounds. It’s been great to have the rain and summer storms hanging around once again and all our lawns, gardens, including the weeds are flourishing as a result. With the extra humidity about also, the prevalence of pest and diseases have also become rampant in a lot of gardens around the Bribie districts as of late with thriving infestations of leaf hoppers, citrus leaf miner, scale, ants and lawn grub, to mention a few. And I have been busy assisting some of my clients who had returned from their holidays and noticed that their fruit trees were under attack, as the new flush of foliage is soft and succulent and had become too irresistible indeed.

The other thing I should mention is that nutritional disorders are prevalent also at this time of year. Especially after some good rainfall which tends to flush those vital soluble nutrients down through the sandy soil profile. This can be remedied by incorporating a slow release fertiliser or some composted manure as a top dressing around the plants under the mulch, which also feeds the soil which in turn feeds your plants over time too. If you want to make your own life-giving microbe brews for your plants, then perhaps you might be interested in a worm farm as the by products of the nutrient dense worm castings and worm juices are miracle tonics that can help to create healthy vibrant plants and are a perfect remedy for sick, tired and stressed plants too. When used in conjunction with compost or with composted manures, not only will your soil retain more moisture in time, the overall vitality and fertility will be improved also. Not to mention of the sustainability factor, from composting the kitchen waste which is a win, win situation indeed!

The leaf miner Phyllocnistis citrella, can be a little hard to treat (never mind pronounce) when the damage has already been done, eggs laid, hatched and the new fresh flush of foliage has become disfigured, (which deforms when the pupae invades the leaf blade and mines its way through the skin of the leaf then curls the leaf over for protection). The damaged leaf appears to have a silvery trail simular looking to a snail trail, then it might be best to cut as much of the damaged foliage off as possible and dispose in the bin. Preventative sprays of oils or soaps will deter new moths from laying some eggs which are laid on the midrib of the leaf blade at night time only. Therefore, it will be an ongoing concern and frequent applications of these soaps and oils will be necessary to regain some control. There are leaf miner pheromone traps (one called eco CLM) now available and well worth a try, these large yellow cards have a powerful pheromone tablet which attract the male moth, the pheromones mimic the female scent and subsequently the pest populations are greatly reduced as a result, which is great news, as these pests left un checked can quickly destroy the whole new flush of the new seasons growth of citrus in a blink of an eye.
So, here’s hoping you are all enjoying this beautiful summer weather and living the dream on our Beautiful Bribie island and surrounding districts, until next issue, Stay hydrated! Your Local Happy Horticulturist!