Leaf miner damage on citrus leaves
The bronze orange bug or stink bug
A typical aphid infection
Ants farming aphids for their honey dew
Summer Seasonal Gardening Tips
by Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener
During November and into summer, watch out for increased aphid activity, bronze orange bugs and citrus leaf miners attacking fruit trees. These pest insects suck sap from leaves and stems, weakening your plants and trees. Early detection and removal can help stop the cycle of damage. Otherwise, you may see new shoots wilting and flowers or fruit dropping.
You can hand pick bronze orange bugs (commonly called ‘stink bugs’) from your citrus trees. Drop them into a bucket of hot soapy water. They squirt a strong-smelling liquid when disturbed so it’s important to wear safety glasses and gloves for protection so it doesn’t burn your skin and eyes.
Queensland fruit fly are targeting a large range of fruiting crops and of course there are a number of organic control strategies you can use. Grasshoppers are on the increase as the weather warms up. Exclusion netting may be an option to control their numbers.
Cabbage white butterflies and moths are making an appearance and will become more prolific as the temperature increases. These ladies lay eggs on your brassica crops like cabbage, kale, tatsoi, radish, rocket and mustard. The eggs hatch into caterpillars and can significantly impact your harvests if not kept under control. Try hand picking early morning from your container gardens like the Vegepod and encourage birds into your garden for a free feast.
If you haven’t yet planted flowers in your garden, now is a great time to start sowing some. They are a great source of nectar and pollen for predator insects like ladybirds, hoverflies and parasitic wasps. These beneficial insects will help keep the pest to predator balance in check.
After fruit set, trees have a higher need for consistent moisture and nutrients. Topping up with compost, slow release pellets like Organic Life and liquid seaweed feeds your trees during a prime growing period. Keep well mulched out to the dripline.
• Check fruit fly traps. Re-bait as necessary.
• Fertilise citrus and fruit trees. Mulch well.
• Plant passionfruit and apply compost and mulch.
• De-sucker bananas and feed. If harvesting, wear old clothes as the sap stains!
The Micro Gardener
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Enjoy a rich harvest this summer!