by Wally Richards
Wishing you a Happy New Year Gardening.
Now the weather has settled a bit and temperatures are better (But still a bit chilly at times) Insect pests will multiply rapidly unless you instigate early controls.
If you look at when you are successful in eliminating one adult female insect, that will prevent somewhere between 100 to 300 more of the same pests to invest your plants.
For instance using the yellow sticky white fly traps; hang one near your tomato plants and within a few days the number of whitefly and other flying pest insects caught on the trap’s sticky surface will be dozens.
The sticky traps are worth their weight in gold for pest control.
Plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, egg plants, capsicum and courgettes will likely have under the older leaves a lot of young pests.
Inspect the oldest leaves looking over and under and if there are a good number of pests remove the leaves from the plant and place in a plastic bag and seal.
This will greatly reduce the pest problem.
There will likely be pests on the upper/newer leaves but a spray of Wallys Super Neem Tree Oil with Wallys Super Pyrethrum will take care of these.
These combined sprays should only be applied only just before dusk for two reasons, Neem Oil in sunlight or with UV on a cloudy day can burn foliage.
Pyrethrum is quickly deactivated by UV/Sunlight and when expose to than will be ineffective within a couple of hours.
Pyrethrum sprayed just before dark will be active all night affecting any pests that come in contact with it. Pyrethrum is a quick knock down affecting the insects nervous system and thus killing it.
Neem Oil on the other hand will last for up to 7 days, slowly decreasing the effectiveness due to sunlight.
Its action is anti-feedent and once a pest insect consumes some Neem it stops eating for ever.
Adding Raingard to the above sprays will prolong the effective life of them and prevent the sprays been diluted by rain or watering.
For control of guava moth and codlin moth the most effective way is to spray the fruit with Wallys Super Neem Tree Oil with Raingard added.
This puts a layer of Neem Oil over the fruit so that when one of the moth’s grubs tries to eat their way into the fruit they are stopped at the first bite. Repeat spraying the fruit with Neem oil and Raingard added every 14 days till harvest.
Leaf hoppers, aphids, caterpillars and mealy bugs are simply controlled with the spray above applied late in the day.
One of the problems is re-infestation from other plants nearby or from over the fence.
Unless the other plants nearby are also sprayed you will never win.
Spider Mites are best controlled by sprays of sulphur or as we used to do in days gone by, Sulphur powder dusted over the plants that have mites.
At this time of the year you may have the cherry slug or pear slug eating holes in the leaves of those trees. If so spray the foliage with Wallys Liquid Copper with Raingard added. The pests cant handle copper and drop off and die.
Mealy bugs live in the root system of plants and the adults are found in the canopy. Spraying the canopy will take them out but not affect the ones in the root system.
Apply Wallys Neem Tree Powder to the top of the mix in containers that are affected and Wallys Neem Tree Granules to the soil in the root zone of plants affected.
Pest problems on citrus trees are very easily fixed by sprinkling Wallys Neem Tree Granules from the trunk to the drip line. Lightly water to get them started and normally within 6 to 8 weeks the citrus tree will be free of pests.
The smell of Neem granules/power is also a great deterrent as the Neem smell camouflages the natural smell of the plant and pests looking for their host plant by smell cannot find them and fly on by.
In glasshouses Wallys Neem Granules on the soil or on top of the mix in containers will reduce insects pests from been lured in from the smell of their host plants.
Little pouches made out of curtain netting and loaded with Neem Granules before hanging in fruit trees that are subjected to codlin and guava moth attack. Used in conjunction with the Neem Oil sprays on the fruit should mean you have plenty of unaffected fruit for your use.
Cats can be a pest in gardens as they use them for their toilets and Wallys Cat Repellent is the most effective way to prevent them fouling gardens or other areas.
Crop cover also called Bug Mesh is the best control of keeping white butterflies off your cabbages and brassicas. Hoops made out of rigid alkathene pipe with crop cover over them.
Weeds are another garden pest and a safe to use spray is Wallys Super Compost Accelerator which you can use to compost weeds where they are growing.
A few years ago a chap from UK phoned me and asked about getting ammonium sulphamate in NZ.
I had not heard of it and asked whats it for.
He told me in England you purchased it, dissolved it in water and sprayed it onto weeds to compost them where they are growing. The weeds think its nitrogen and readily take it in where it completely composts the living weeds and then coverts to nitrogen so no harm on soil life or yourself.
The most effective rate is 200 grams per litre of water sprayed on a sunny day when the soil is on the dry side. Given ideal conditions the weeds are composted very quickly in some cases with an hour.
Available as Wallys Super Compost Accelerator in 600 gram jar (makes 3 litres of full strength spray) or in 2kg jar named Ammonium sulphamate making 10 litres full strength spray.
If used at say 100 grams per litre of water the composting takes longer but on most weeds still very effective. A good choice to use instead of possible cancer causing chemicals.
One of the interesting aspects of the composting is if watered over oxalis foliage and into the soil where the bulb is, it will compost the bulb and bulblets in the soil. Repeat when new oxalis foliage appears till the area is free of the pest weed.
When used at rates of say 60 to 80 grams per litre of water it does not affect some strains of grass but can compost some broad leaf weeds in lawns. Experiment as to what rate it composts weeds but not affect you lawn grasses.
Unlike herbicide lawn weed killers that you cant compost the lawn clipping because of the reside in the cut grass that would effect herbicide sensitive plants (roses, Tomatoes, Beans) there is no problem with ammonium sulphamate composting the clippings which will only speed up the composting.
Wishing you a pest free New Year.