Asparagus

asparagus4Asparagus officinalis is a perennial in the lily family and it lives for up to 30 years.

There are male and female Asparagus plants. The males have better quality spears and the females produce little red berries in autumn. The plants are not difficult to grow and will thrive under a variety of conditions. With proper care your asparagus bed should produce for 15 years or more.

Asparagus2

Asparagus are heavy feeders and require a deep, friable, rich soil that is well prepared before planting.If you have a heavy, clay soil, you'll need to dig in plenty of gypsum and S.A Compost. Asparagus is very hungry and need plenty of organic matter such as cow manure, sheep manure, or such products as Rapid Raiser or Dynamic Lifter.

Asparagus can be grown by seed, or with seedlings. If you do grow them that way then after planting leave for about two or three years for a strong root system to develop. You must not pick any of the crop, just let it grow naturally.

The other way to grow them and usually the most popular method is buying a Asparagus crown, with its long fleshy roots. The crown of the Asparagus is where the spears will grow. Asparagus crowns are available for purchase and planting winter through to early spring starting from around May onwards.

asparagus1 To plant the crown you will need to dig hole or a trench if planting larger numbers. For each crown make a little mound, at the bottom of the hole/trench. Sit the roots of the crown nicely on top of the mound. Plant about 40cm apart. Water well once planted. Then in spring, little shoots will appear, at this time you can side and top dress with blood and bone. They can of course also been grown in very large pots .

When can I Harvest you ask? The crown and root system must be allowed to develop for one year before harvesting begins. Your may be tempted to do some harvesting the first year after planting, but bear in mind that removing spears will result in stress that will weaken your plants. Asparagus can be harvested for a 2- 3 week period the second year after planting. During the third, fourth and subsequent years, a full cutting season of 6 to 10 weeks are permissible. 


AsparagusIt is not advisable to continue cutting well-established asparagus plants after the end of December in any year. During the cutting period, the plant draws on food reserves stored in the root system during the previous growing season. The top-growth must be allowed to develop after December in order to replace the food stores in the fleshy roots. Cutting is best done with a sharp knife that is pushed into the ground so that it severs the spear about 2 1/2 cm (1 in.) below ground.

Apart from slugs and snails in spring asparagus has very few pests and diseases.

Once the plants are around the 3 to 4 years old you should find they go yellow in autumn and that's the time to cut them back to ground level. The Asparagus bed will be bare until spring, and then those lovely spears of Asparagus will pop up back up in your garden.


Asparagus is high in potassium, great for fibre, low in salt, and a terrific, healthy vegetable to grow. There is nothing nicer than growing your own crop and taking it fresh to the table.

Bare Root Rose

Winter is a great time for planting. Getting plants in the ground at this time of year gives roses plenty of time to establish before the hot summer and the long awaited bare rooted plants are available. During winter, rose that have been field grown are dug up when they're dormant, and sold, ready for planting. Bare-rooted roses are only available in winter - June, July and August. With so many new varieties of bare root rose available, there is no excuse not to get planting.

See Heynes list for varieties of Rose.

When selecting a bare rooted plant, try to ensure there is no obvious physical damage and look for a good, even structure and also look for good strong graft. Don’t leave the rose sitting round for extended period of time, and remember the roots of these plants need to stay moist from the point when dug out of the ground until planting time. If not planting straight away make sure to keep them moist, not wet.It is most important to NEVER allow the roots to become dry. In Australian bare root rose should be planted over the June to September months and should be in the ground by the time rose bring to “shoot”.

 

PLANTING BARE ROOT ROSES

Roses like to be planted in a sunny, open aspect and the soil needs to have good drainage. So select a location where they'll receive at least six hours of sun and have good drainage.

Prune

At planting time it is recommend to prune, because when the rose are dug, the roots are pruned, and for a balanced tree the tops should be pruned to balance the root size. Prune new roses back by one-third in an even manner to an outwards facing bud, make cuts on a sight angle, and use clean secateurs.  Also remove any dead or broken wood.

Dig

Dig a hole around twice as wide as the root ball. To allow the rose roots to spread the inside of the hole should have nice, rough edges, to ensure the effective movement of water and air. Thoroughly mix the soil from the hole with plenty of gypsum and some SA compost, then put a good shovel of gypsum into the bottom of the hole and fork in through.

Plant

Unpack the bare root rose, remove all packing materials, and carefully untangle the roots. If in sawdust carefully remove most of it. Before planting remove any diseased, or damaged roots.  

Set the rose in the hole and spread the roots out in a natural position. It can help to mound a pile of soil at the base to support the root system. Position the rose so the bud union is above the soil level, its best to plant the rose at the same level as when it was originally in the ground. Back fill the hole, lightly firm the soil, make a well around the base and water in. Also it’s very important to stake standard roses.

Water/Fertilise

Water as needed however do not overwater. Now that bare root roses are in the ground it is important to remember that over watering and mulching roses at this early time will set them back. The soil around the rose should be kept moist but not soggy.

Consistent watering is important in the dry months (summer). Before watering, check the soil if it’s damp, it will be fine.

No need to fertilise until the rose starts growing in spring. (If you feel inclined to, add a small amount of fertilise at time of planting). When summer arrives it is recommend to mulch. 

Bare Root Trees

bareroottreeWinter is a great time for planting. Getting plants in the ground at this time of year gives trees plenty of time to establish before the hot summer and the long awaited bare rooted plants are available. During winter, trees that have been field grown are dug up when they're dormant, and sold, ready for planting. Deciduous bare-rooted fruit and ornamentals trees are only available in winter - June, July and August. With so many new and dwarf varieties of bare rooted trees available, there is no excuse not to get planting.

See Heynes list for varieties of Bare-root Fruit and Ornamental.

When selecting a bare rooted plant, try to ensure there is no obvious physical damage and look for a good, even branch structure. As most fruit and ornamental trees in nursery are grafted also look for a strong graft. Don’t leave the trees sitting round for extended period of time, and remember the roots of these plants need to stay moist from the point when dug out of the ground until planting time. In Australian bare root trees should be planted over the June to September months and should be in the ground by the time trees bring to “shoot”.

diggingahole

 

PLANTING BARE ROOT TREES

Prune
At planting time it is recommend to prune, because when the trees are dug, the roots are pruned, and for a balanced tree the tops should be pruned to balance the root size. Trees can be cut back to about 1/3 in an even manner to an outwards face bud, use clean secateurs. To encourage a nice branching habit or vase shape for fruit trees remove the leader.

Dig
Dig a hole around twice as wide as the root ball. To allow the trees roots to spread the inside of the hole should have nice, rough edges, to ensure the effective movement of water and air. Thoroughly mix the soil from the hold with plenty of gypsum and some SA compost, then put a good shovel of gypsum into the bottom of the hole and flock in through.Remove any grass within a meter circular area.

Plant
Before planting remove any diseased, or even damaged, roots. Spread the roots out in a natural position. It can help to mound a pile of soil at the base to support the root system. Plant the tree at the same level as when it was originally in the ground, at the base. So to help minimize the risk of disease, issues like collar rot. The graft/bud should be above the soil level, the exception bring lilacs.

Back fill the hole, lightly firm the soil, make a well around the base of tree and water in. You’ve planted a bare root tree!

Water/Fertilise 

PlantingBareRootWater as needed however do not overwater. Consistent watering is important in the dry months. No need to fertilise until the tree starts growing in spring. (If you feel inclined to, add a small amount of fertilise at time of planting).

If the tree is bit loose or has been planted in high wind area, loosely stake it until the tree is established. Place two stakes in the ground, one both side of the tree well away the root zone and loosely tie the tree to the stakes with a soft tie around the trunk of the tree.

 

Blueberry

Help Celebrating National Blueberry Day! (March 19) with us 15% of Bluberry plants ofter ends March the 20th.

 

Standard types for SA:
Northern Highbush – The most common type of blueberry, these varieties are semi-deciduous, require cooler climates to set fruit and thrive in areas that experience frost.
Southern Highbush – These varieties can be semi-deciduous or evergreen (depending on climate) and do well in warmer climates.


Featured varieties:blueberrycrop
‘Vitality’ – This evergreen variety can be planted in pots or in the garden, preferring a full sun or partly shaded position. Frost is not an issue; in fact the winter temperature drop is required for flowering and fruiting. Growing to an approximate size of 1m x 1m, this small, dense shrub can also be used as a low hedge. Pale pink flowers appear during winter, followed by a fruiting season from late spring into summer. Classified as semi-self-fertile, a cross-pollinator is recommended for shrubs that are having trouble fruiting.
‘Blueberry Burst’ – A unique Australian bred variety, these blueberries are known for their large fruit, high yield, early flowering season and early season harvest. Berries are ready to be picked from early July in warmer areas or August/September in cooler areas, proving to grow successfully in both climates. The shrub is evergreen and grows to an approximate size of 1m in height and 75cm in width. A sunny position is preferred; however some protection may be needed if temperatures are extreme. They are suitable for planting in pots or in the garden and are self-fertile.
‘Sunshine Blue’ – This semi-deciduous shrub features showy pink flowers that fade to white during spring, followed by a large yield of fruit from spring through to early summer. As a southern highbush, it tolerates warmer climates but is also hardy in the cold. They are suitable for pots or the garden, growing approximately 1-2m tall and wide. A partly shaded or sunny position is ideal, with protection from harsh sun. ‘Sunshine Blue’ is a self-fertile variety.


CARE AND MAINTENANC
Blueberries prefer a sunny spot in the garden in acidic (pH 4 – 5.5) soil with excellent drainage. If the plant is to live in a pot, make sure acidic potting mix is used. Talk to us about how to find out your soil’s pH level and how to lower it if necessary. Regular watering is important during the growing season; however it is crucial not to overwater as the roots don’t like to stay too wet. This is why drainage is important and will need to be corrected by adding gypsum if water is pooling. Cut down on watering after the harvest season and increase again when new buds begin to form (depending on weather conditions). Use an acidic fertilizer in spring when the new foliage is developing, avoiding the use of any type of manure. A light prune is best done in winter to remove weak or dying growth, ready for fresh growth in spring. Netting is a good idea while fruit is on the bush to protect your crop from birds. When it comes time to harvest, be careful not to pick the fruit prematurely, as they do not ripen away from the shrub. Fruit should be dark in colour and come away from the branch easily. Keep any surplus blueberries in the freezer where they can last you throughout the year.

Citrus

Citrus are the most popular fruit bearing plants grown in Australia. Glossy green foliage, white scented flowers and colourful great tasking fruit make these trees a must for every back yard. Citrus trees are not only practical but make great ornamental and container growing trees. Citrus trees are all very easy to grow and will thrive under a variety of conditions. With proper care citrus will provided an abundance of fruit that can be left on the tree for long periods.

The best time to plant citrus is in the spring and autumn. When it comes to planting, select the site carefully, keeping in mind all heat and frost protection requirements.

Citrus love sunshine, they prefer open warm sunning position, receiving full sun for about 4-6 hours. Through most citrus will tolerate light frost, a position perfected from frost is advisable as frost can damage young blossom bearing shoots. Shelter from strong cooling winds is important as this can damage young growth, blossom and developing fruit. 

Citrus preferred a light, well drainage soil, good drainage is vital for citrus as they are susceptible to rootrot. Citrus are heavy feeders and require a deep, friable, rich soil that is well prepared before planting.If you have a heavy, clay soil, you'll need to dig in plenty of gypsum and S.A Compost. As trees can often struggle in heavy clay soil unless good soil preparing has been provided. Avoid planting in low lying areas that retain run-off in the winter months.

WATERING: Citrus are not deep rooted trees, regular watering is required, care must be taken to ensure they have adequate watering during hot summer months. Do not over water citrus trees. Good deep soaking once or twice a week, instead of small daily watering is much more beneficial for citrus when weather is warm. As weather cools down it’s important to back off on watering as citrus don’t like to have wet roots or their roots sitting in water for longer periods of time.


MULCH: When mulching citrus, only mulch in late spring to conserve moisture during hot summer months. Care must be taken not to build up mulch around trunk of trees as this may cause collar rot. It is advisable to remove mulch back from citrus over winter months, so to let them dry out and let sun warm soil. Lawn and citrus don’t mix, do not under plant citrus with lawn or plants.


FERTILISER: Like most plants, citrus trees need foods which contain essential nutrients for healthy green foliage and large juicy fruit. It is recommended when fertilising lemons, oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, limes and cumquats etc, to use a Fruit and Citrus Fertiliser. Spread the fertiliser 30 cm away from the trunk covering the whole area outwards to the edge of the foliage drip line (where the foliage ends). Water the fertiliser immediately into the ground after application.  NEVER apply more than is recommended.


PRUNNING: In general citrus need little or no pruning; there is no need to prune or trainee to particular shape. Citrus will naturally grow into bushy trees, however trees will be healthier, easier to manage and produce more reliable crops over the trees produced life, if trainee, shaped, and pruned. Citrus can be train to vase shape with well-placed main braches or to any shape you like. Why not have a go at espalier one, if you’re limited on space. Always prune out any dead, damage or disease branches, citrus can tolerate heavy cutting back if required. After harvest, in early spring is the best time to prune, or in late winter.


LIMITED AREA: Don’t have the room for a large tree? Short on space, try growing one in a pot or try your hard at espaliering.

As long as theirs a sunny position it’s possible to grow citrus in a pot, but be aware they need constant care, feeding and watering to produce a healthy crop. All that’s need is a good size pot, Half wine barrels (or pots of a similar size) and quality potting mix.


Espalier a citrus. This way trees provide an evergreen screen, but don’t encroach on the garden. There are many different ways to espalier a tree, the main objected is to grown one flat against a wall or fence. Plant citrus at about 1.5m intervals, and about 30 centimetres from fence or wall. Tie the stems to horizontal wires along fence, place wire about 20 centimetres apart.

PEST/INSECTS AND PROBLEMS:

ANTS

antsAnts run up and down the citrus trees, they are a secondary problems arising from another pest problem. The presence of ants is usually an indication that there is a Scale or Aphid problem. The Ants feed from the sticky exudate of the Scale and Aphids.

Control Methods: Control the scale or aphids and the ants will disappear.


 APHIDS

aphidsAphids are small, soft-bodied insects, there are many different species of aphids which vary in color from green to yellow and black. Aphids often cluster on new young shoots and flower buds or underneath older leaves, particularly in spring and autumn. Buds may fail to open and leaves are twisted and distorted. New growth may be stunted. Aphids also transmit virus diseases.

Control Methods: Spray for aphids on citrus, but sprays that enter the plant and move in the sap are unsuitable. Spray with pyrethrum sprays or horticulture oils, like Pest oil, white oil or eco-oil.Also natural predators such as ladybirds and parasitic wasps will control numbers.


SCALES

scale

There are two main groups of scale insects, both of which spend most of their lives as immobile adults, sucking the sap from stalks, leaves and stems. Hard scale and Soft scale are usually found on the mid-rib of leaves and stalks of citrus. Scale can cause death of stems if infestation is heavy. Again, spring and autumn are the usual seasons when these are more prevalent.

Control Methods: Spray with horticulture oils, like Pest oil, white oil or eco-oil, making sure to cover the insects. If there are only small number it may be possible remove them by hand.


 

scale1SOOTY MOULDS

Sooty mouldSooty moulds are black and dry and look just like soot.Sooty moulds are a secondary problems arising from another pest problem.  Insects such as aphids and scales produce “honeydew” and where this substance falls provides an environment on which sooty mould can grow. Sooty moulds don’t directly damage but if it’s very thick or remains for a long time it may reduce photosynthesise.

Control Methods: Removing the source of the honeydew will usually solve the sooty mould problem. Control the insects like sales and aphids.


CITRUS GALL WASP

This insect is native to Australia; its host is the native finger lime, but has adapted to wider variety of citrus fruits.  Around September the wasp lays eggs into the soft new growth. The larvae grown within the soft stem for 9-12months , as the larvae develop, unsightly galls appear on the trees and gradually increase in size as the larva grow, gall are full-size by autumn. From mid-September to early November the adult wasps emerges from infested galls leaving small exit holes and live for about a week. Wraps are poor flyers so tend to re-fest the same tree, but can be move around by wind to nearby trees. Galls cannot be ‘cured’ or reversed.  Developing galls need to be removed cut out; therefore citrus gall is more damaging to younger citrus trees than older trees.

Plants Affected: All citrus especially lemons and limes. As well as the native Finger Lime.

 Control Methods: Controlling citrus gall wasp can be difficult, there is not cure but damage can be minimized by: 

  • Remove/cut out all new galls that don’t show signs of exit holes before August.
  • Destroying all infected stems by burning or bagging.
  • Hanging yellow sticky traps inside infected trees from mid-August to trap any emerging adult wasps.  
  • Avoiding high nitrogen fertilizer in spring as this promotes soft sappy growth, perfect for the egg laying stage. Instead fertilizing trees in late autumn and early winter, so to reduce soft growth in spring time when gall wasp is around.

CITRUS LEAFMINTER

leafminerThe adults of this pest is a small moth, it is silvery-white in colour with fringed wings.  The moth lay eggs along the midrib of young leaves. Larvae are pale-green and difficult to see, they tunnel into the leaf and as they eat leaving silver trails over the leaves. The larvae are the damaging stage, attacking the young growth flush and causing leaves to twist and curl.

Plants Affected: All citrus varieties. New growth only affected, once leaves have hardened, they are resistant to leafminer attack.

Control Methods: Control of leaf minter can be hard as larvae are shielded within the leaf. But reduction of infestation can be achieved by:

  • Remove leaves that show signs of citrus leaf minter.
  • Spray horticultural oils to reduce numbers of egg laying. Moths avoid surface sprayed with oils. Two or more sprays may be required.
  • Reduce infestations by limiting production of new leaves when leafminer numbers are highest: Prune growth flushes. Fertilize in late winter to promote strong spring growth when the leafminer numbers are low.

IRON DEFICIENCIES

irondeficIron deficiencies are quite common in our lime rich soils, therefore the term 'lime induced chlorosis. Young leaves are affected first, leaves appear light green, pale yellow or even white, while the veins remain quite green. New growth appears normal in mild cases, but in severe cases leaves may be smaller and dieback may occur. Also fruit crop yield will be reduced.

Control Methods: Foliage applications of iron in the chelate form in a solution to the soil around the plants or to the foliage.

WIND INJURY

Strong winds can effectively damage citrus trees. The wind can bashes new leaves against branches, which causes some cell damage.  Damage caused to leaves means a reduction in photosynthesis, therefore a reduction in the amount of sugars needed for maintenance of the tree for fruit production.

There is no real control for wind damage. When planting choose an area not exposed to strong winds.


ZINC DEFICIENCIES

zincZinc deficiently is first noticeable on the young leaves of the plant; the leaves appear small and grow close together. Also leaf tissue between the main veins will become mottled yellow.  In extreme cases of zine deficit, dieback and increased production of small, weak twigs will occur. Citrus trees suffering deficiency in zinc will certainly follow with a decline in the yield. In light, sandy soil zinc is leached out. In soils with high organic matter lime content zinc is present but unavailable to the plant.

Control Methods:Zinc is not very mobile in the plant so a foliage cover spray is essential to enhance fruit set. Zinc sprays should be applied prior to fruit set for maximum benefit. Also add urea as it will make uptake of zinc more efficient and supply extra nitrogen.


YELLOW LEAVES

Citrus leaves can turn yellow for a number of reasons wet or cold temperatures, lack of feeding and deficiencies.

Cold weather can cause citrus leaves to curl. Cold can cause the tissue in the leaves to dry out leaving a burnt appearance. If possible, cover citrus trees if you expect a freeze.

Sunburn can leave yellow or brown leathery spots on the fruit and leaves, likely on the south and west sides of the tree. Too much heat can cause leaves to curl.

Overwatering is another common cause of unhealthy looking leaves. Too much water can cause leaves to curl, turn yellow, and drop. If you suspect overwatering, reduce your watering schedule and look for signs of improvements. Also make sure your tree has proper drainage and there is no mulch around the trees.

 

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