Garden Doctor

Ants on plants

Symptom: Have you got ants on your plants? Bet you’ve got scale sucking like mad on your prize possessions. Scale are limpet like creatures which attach themselves to leaves and stems and suck sap, a bit like mosquitoes suck our blood. They secrete a sticky substance which is attractive to ants and eventually goes mouldy, causing sooty mould.

Treatment: The ants aren’t a problem at all, they’ve only arrived for the sugary secretion. Yum. Spray the scale with Eco oil during the coolest part of the day, it’s 100% organic and safe for you and the planet. They can attack all sorts of plants, watch out for them especially on Gardenias, Citrus and Bay trees.

Aphids

Symptom: Aphids are those nasty little sap sucking ratbags that attack all sorts of plants and love fresh new growth. Mostly they are green but can also be brown, black or even a reddish colour. They are especially active on Roses, but also watch for them on Maples, Camellias, Pittosporums and Photinias.

Treatment: Controlling them is easy and we find Eco-oil or Confidor the most effective. Ladybirds eat them too, so be nice to your Ladybirds.

Citrus caterpillars on lemons, limes and other citrus

Citrus are really copping it now. The citrus butterfly is out laying her eggs and out hatches the tiny caterpillar that quickly grows, getting fat on your citrus trees. They turn into big ugly green, black and white caterpillars as big as your little finger. When disturbed they will poke out 2 red “horns” to scare you off. Their colours disguise them very well. Pick them off by hand or spray with Success.

Citrus Leaf Miner

Leaf miners are tiny yellow worm like things which mine their way through the new leaves, making them ugly, twisted and distorted. They won’t kill your plants, but they will make them look unattractive as they damage all the lovely new growth. Spray with eco oil every few weeks while the new growth is soft, but avoid spraying on very hot days.

Pear and Cherry Slug

These are small clearish/brownish slug like creatures which mostly attack pear and cherry trees. They eat the leaf surface leaving them brown and skeletonised. Spray them with Success. It’s organic and works a treat!

Stink bugs on citrus

Stink bugs or Bronze Orange bugs are nasty. These are orange and usually turn dark brown and up to the size of a 10 cent coin. They damage the new shoots making them wilt and snap. As their name suggests, they stink and this can be your first sign that they are about. Spray with Conquer, and be careful as they can spray a burst of stink bug juice into your face or eyes.

Ugly Bubbly Leaves

Symptom: Do your peaches, Nectarines or Almonds have disgusting bubbly leaves? Doesn’t it look scary?

Treatment: It’s called peach leaf curl, but don’t panic; pull the ugly leaves off, and lovely new ones will grow to replace them. Spray them two times a year with leaf curl spray. Once in early winter, when all the leaves have fallen off, and again in spring when the flower buds are showing signs of pink.