Monday, February 19, 2018 | Regina Downes | Comments (0)



The trees around the Top End are looking stunning after all the rain, not so much the fallen mahogany trees scattered around the Top End after that beautiful Monsoon we recently had. That's the difference between native and introduced tree species. Our native trees can withstand our tropical environment, they may not have big tap roots but they don't need to, their fibrous root system is designed to move with the wind not against it.



-Look for signs of any loose and unsafe hanging tree branches (cracked & split branches)
-Remove any fallen branches from your property asap
-If your tree is leaning and looking unstable call an aborist (get a second opinion)
-Look for signs of fungal and or disease growth
-Check for pockets of decay
-Always check for signs of Termites or pest attacks


Check for Root rot
If your normally healthy shrub has suddenly decided to fall over and die for no apparent reason it could be because of root rot. We are currently getting many calls regarding plants just falling over and dying for no reason, after closer inspection we found it is due to root rot.

What is Root Rot? 

Root rot is when your plants root system gets too much water and basically drowns.
Plants can only absorb so much water and after this the excess water is pushed outwards and not absorbed. If the excess water has no where to go (drain off) only sit around the base of the plants root ball, it causes the roots to rot and the plant to die.

How & Why does root rot happen?

Planting plants in small SHALLOW plant holes is the MAIN reason why plants die from root rot. When we get a lot of rainfall, plants are sitting in a plant hole full of water, the roots are not anchored to the ground because the plant hole is so small and the shrub plant itself above the ground is much bigger then the root ball below the ground.
The plant cannot anchor itself to the ground, it is sitting in water and is very top heavy-one little blow and it topples over. The plant may look healthy but the root ball is mush.

Get down and dirty!- Dig with your hands (wear gloves!) around the base of the plant or root ball

Look for any of these signs;
-Does the roots/rootball look wet and soggy
-Is the root ball loose and muddy (should be firm and compact)
-Is the plants foliage discoloured?
-Did the plant drop leaves before it died or fell over?







How to over come root rot (if your plant is too far gone then these remedies will not save it-Sorry!)

-Re pot your plant into fresh potting mix until it shows signs of regrowth-replant back into the soil
-Move your plant to a new site in the garden or simply reduce the plants intake of water by reducing the irrigation time.
-Mulching around plants also helps to absorb excess water.




Your grasses are probably looking a bit worse for wear at the moment, that big monsoon gave them a good beaten down and flattened a lot of the softer grasses such as Purple fountain grass (PENNISETUM RUBRA). Don't get too worked up over them and leave them alone until we get some drier weather. Once we get some drier weather give them a good hair cut. They will grow back very fast.

 Ipomea;                                                                                                                                                                       There is no problem giving your Ipomea batatus a little prune here and there to make sure it stays in its garden bed and doesn't starting taking over. This time of year it is growing at an incredible rate. Even tho the big rains have leached the soil of its nutrients and most ground covers are looking a little yellow, Ipomea never looked better. It is so resilient and hardy. Its one of those ground covers that can make an unsightly part of your garden come to life, even if the soil is terrible.

Gardenia radicans and Gardenia psidioides our most popular gardenia ground covers are looking a little yellow around the top end. As I mentioned before it is because of all the rain washing all the good nutrients out of the soil (leaching). Don't waste your money fertilising these as we are in for a lot more rain and the fertiliser will be washed away down the road or creek. Wait until we get some drier weather.








Grass Hoppers!
T'is the season for the not so little critters! As I am sure you know first hand killing grass hoppers is no easy task! Yes you can buy and make many sprays to kill them but trying to catch the little so's and so's to administer the spray is a whole other story! (most treatments require you to soak the actual insect with the treatment)
A few points to note;

Grass hoppers alone do not normally kill your plants, only in severe infestations. If grass hoppers are not causing huge amounts of harm to your plants I wouldn't really be concerned about them and I would leave them for the birds to eat

What you can do if you really need to get rid of grass hoppers;
Chooks-Let the chooks into the garden they will have a feast!
Neem oil- Natural insecticides with Neem as the active ingredient will kill grasshoppers
Regular flour (not the fancy stuff!) shake over the leaves. Sticks to the mouths of grass hoppers they hate it and will move on or die
Garlic-Grass hoppers hate the smell-make a spray or buy a ready to use spray. To make the garlic spray, blend two bulbs of garlic with 10 cups of water then heat up the mixture until it starts to boil. Next, let the mixture sit overnight



This time of year we are usually busy getting our herbs and veggies ready for our Online Plant Shop but with all the wet weather we are expected to get, we are holding off and would advise you to do the same. (We are aiming for March!)



Below is a list of hardy edibles that you can continue growing this time of year.
  • Lemons                                        Mulberries white and black
  • Limes                                           Egyptian spinach
  • Oranges                                       Sweet Leaf
  • Paw Paw (not small seedling)    Jackfruit
  • Bananas                                       Egg Plant
  • Dragon Fruit                               Pineapple
  • Loofa/Lufa                                   Rosella
  • Barabados cherry                       Galangal
  • Okra                                             Mangoes
  • Starfruit                                       Chilies
  • Tumeric                                       Sweet potato
  • Lemon grass 


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