Mystery of the missing moth

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DESPITE the cooler summer, I have found no evidence of codling moth in our apples or invasion of fruit fly.

Conversely, the mosquitoes just love these damp, humid conditions.

I would be interested in readers’ comments regarding their own fruit trees.

One important reminder with chemical sprays, make absolutely certain of the withholding period. In other words, the time between spraying any edible crop, fruit or vegetables.

An extreme case of suckers from the trunk of an oak tree.
LAST week, I briefly discussed suckering from the base or roots of trees. This followed a reader inquiry with concerns at the number of suckers from the base of a tree, plus the top of the tree appeared to be dying.

There is no relationship between the two, with healthy trees producing suckers (illustrated here with an oak tree). In particular, grafted plants can produce suckers under the graft and it is important to remove them as soon as they appear.

Many trees can produce suckers when digging within the root zone and damaging the roots. Elm trees and Robinia “Mop Tops” are notorious for this problem.

VEHICLES constantly driven over the root zone, as on nature strips, can result in suckers with roots being exposed and subsequently damaged. Vehicles cause soil compaction, which reduces oxygen to the root zone and causes water run-off. Over time, particularly in droughts, the tree could die with no water penetrating to the roots.

Incidentally, it is illegal under ACT Territory and Municipal Services regulations for “parking or storing any type of vehicle or trailer on your nature strip [also referred to as the verge] is prohibited, whether registered or unregistered”.

And this is not a recent regulation – it has been in place since the early 1920s, with amendments over the years.

The problem is compounded with the advent of large numbers of units being built with insufficient parking facilities. Of course, I would rather have trees on nature strips than wall-to-wall vehicles.

Bulb planting time is here again.
IT is bulb-planting time, as I noticed the Heritage Nursery and others furiously unpacking bulbs.

The advantage, as I have said before, is that you can pick good, healthy bulbs at your local garden centre as opposed to mail order, when you may not know what you are getting. I will discuss more on bulbs next week – how deep to plant, where to plant, etcetera.

LUCERNE in bulk has been in short supply over recent years other than those plastic-wrapped bales at garden centres. This has been due to drought in the traditional growing areas and the demand for stock feed. Why lucerne for mulch?

Firstly, you might like to look at my Cedfacts Garden Information Sheet “What is so special about lucerne hay?” which can be found at

Secondly, help is now at hand with an excellent growing season and locally grown Amungula Lucerne of Sutton. Andrew Bingley can supply either bales or bags of shredded lucerne that is weed free and ideal for all garden applications.

Delivery is available to all areas of Canberra and Queanbeyan. Call Andrew on 0417 223 296 or


It’s time to…

  • Clip conifers. More details next week.
  • Plant evergreen shrubs so the roots will be established before spring.
  • Tie up dahlias. The ideal growing conditions this year results in fast growth.
  • Plant bulbs.

Diary dates

  • Horticultural Society of Canberra’s next meeting at Wesley Church Centre, National Circuit, Forrest, 7.30pm, Monday, March 19, with guest speaker Stephen Utick, of Camellia Ark Project, which endeavours to preserve endangered and early cultivar camellias. Meetings are free, open to all with supper provided.
  • Lanyon Homestead with Open Gardens Australia is hosting a “gardener’s heaven”. An opportunity to find the perfect plant at its plant fair, 10am-4pm, Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, plus the gardens will be open for inspection.[/box]

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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