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Wally Richards
Wally Richardshttp://www.gardenews.co.nz
Wally Richards has been a gardening columnist for over 30 years. Check his websites - for gardening news and tips visit www.gardenews.co.nz. For mail order products visit www.0800466464.co.nz. Wally also has a gardening problem help line on 0800 466 464.

Gardening with Wally Richards: Winter clean up time

Winter gardening opinion

In the house we do spring cleaning but in the garden we are best to do a winter clean up.

There are many aspects of ‘winter clean up’ and over the next month or so when the weather is sunny and later in the day when it warms up a bit its good to get out and get things ship shape and tidy.

I will go through the things to do and with what products you can use in your clean up.

The cold of winter knocks back most insect pests from breeding and the ones from last season are huddled down for the winter to emerge (if they survive) and re-infest your plants.

Unfortunately too many can survive and when the weather warms out they come and start breeding.

Some years we are lucky we have a couple of weeks early in spring of nice warm weather and out they come,; then if we have a cold snap they are bowled out and we do not see a build-up till December,

January making for just about a pest free spring going into summer.

There are two ways to knock them back in winter and in many cases both can be applied.

Spraying Wallys Super Neem Tree oil (Put container into a jug of hot water for 15 mins before using as this is real Neem Oil and it goes solid in cold temperatures) at 5 mils per litre of warm water and add half a mil of Wallys Super Pyrethrum to each litre of the spray.

A pipette is supplied with the pyrethrum to measure 1 mil, half a mil etc.

Spray under and over any plants you had pest problems with during the season and only spray later in the afternoon when the sun is lower on the horizon likely about 3 to 4 pm.

That is to ensure that the oil and sunlight will not effect the foliage and for the pyrethrum to be active till the next day.

Under the plants and shrubs such as Rhododendrons (for silvery leaves caused by thrips) sprinkle Wallys Neem Tree Powder.

A must to sprinkle under your citrus trees to clean up borer and all insects in the canopy including white fly.

Why the powder instead of Wallys Neem Tree Granules?

The reason is the powder which is a smaller particle size will break down quicker in winter and release the active ingredients that will help control the pests in the foliage.

Another pest which is often found in house plant containers as well as containers outdoors and in the garden is root mealy bug.

These critters thrive in the soil feeding on the roots of plants, sucking the goodness out of them and the white sticky adults inhabit the stems and foliage of the plant upstairs, coming up from the young in the root zone.

When you are transplanting container plants you will notice white streaks on the sides of the container. Thats root mealy bugs.

With plants in the garden or in outdoor containers sprinkle Wallys Neem Tree Powder.

With indoor plants in containers the powder will form moulds which are unsightly and a bit smelly so with indoor pot plants add a little Wally Super Neem Tree Oil to the water when you give them a drink.

You should also be going easy with watering in winter as plants will suffer with wet feet and maybe die.

Each time you water the house plants add the Neem Oil to the water for the next month or so. The Adult mealy bugs on the foliage you spray with Wallys Super Pyrethrum at 1mil to a litre of water.

Use a trigger sprayer and what spray left over you dont use, leave in sprayer and put in a dark cupboard for next time. In the dark the pyrethrum will keep ok.

If you have spiders on the ceiling or under the eaves mix Wallys Super Pyrethrum at 2.5 mils per each litre of water (25mils to 10 litres of water) and lightly mist ceilings inside and spray under eaves outside.

It will be active for a few months where it is out of direct sunlight affecting any pest that comes in contact with the residue.

Last week we talked about Wallys Moss & Liverwort control for cleaning up mosses, slimes, lichen and liverworts around the home so if you have not done so now is a good time to do so.

Potassium permanganate (also known as Condys crystals) a favourite one of mine for cleaning up fungus diseases on any plants such as roses, fruit trees etc.

You simply place a quarter teaspoon (supplied in container) into a litre of water and spray the canopy all over and the soil underneath.

It destroys disease spores which means they are not there in spring to establish on your roses, vegetables etc. Great to help with control of most rusts, black spot and other fungus diseases.

Those lucky gardeners with glasshouses or tunnel houses also have a few things to clean up.

If you have tomato plants near finished for the season in the glasshouse and have had white fly problems then leave the plants in the house and burn sulphur powder in there.

The reason to leave them in is because if you take them outside you are taking the pests outside to hide on the outside plants till next spring then come back into the glasshouse when you plant up your tomatoes.

I found that the sulphur smoke/fumes will kill some plants and some varieties of tomatoes and some types can survive.

Place about two or three tablespoons of sulphur powder onto health shovel, spade or steel plate and light with a strong flame (a lighter or match wont work to get it started).

If you dont have a flame thrower type then either wet a little of the powder with methylated spirits or use a fire starter. Once it gets burning it is difficult to put out.

You get out smartly and close the door. Leave closed down till next day then open to ventilate.

Later in the spring I will explain how I grew tomatoes in one of my glasshouses and had no white fly invade it.

If you have chili or capsicum plants growing in containers in the glasshouse take them out before you burn the sulphur and in a shed or under a car port then spray them under and over with the Neem Oil and pyrethrum combination mentioned before.

If you have any tree stumps in the garden you want to remove then use Wallys Stump Rotter, follow the instructions and after 6 months or a year dependent on the type of wood the stump should break up nicely by hand.

Leaf fall from your deciduous trees is a valuable product when you convert it to leaf mould which is great to add to your potting mixes you make or even used as a seed raising mix on its own.

Collect up the leaves and spread them over a part of your back lawn and then with a rotary lawn mower run over them with the catcher on to collect the cut up leaves and the grass clippings.

Take a black plastic rubbish bag and put in a couple handfuls of material and spray that with Mycorrcin which speeds up the break down of the leaves.

Add another couple of handfuls and spray, keeping doing this and pressing down till the bag is full but can be tied off.

When full and well compressed tie off firmly and then with a small screw driver or a 10cm nail punch lots of small holes all over the bag and the throw into a spot which gets a good amount oif sunlight.

Every week or two lift bag give it a shake and place back with another side showing.

After a period of time you will have a part bag of rich leaf mould for use.

Seeing most of the potting mixes these days are rubbish you can enhance them greatly by half and half or even one third potting mix and two thirds leaf mould.

If you dont have any fallen leaves in your place collect them from trees growing in the front verge or ask neighbours who are not gardeners if you can collect theirs.

Likely they would be very happy to get rid of them even if they think you are a bit weird.

A couple of interesting things for those that like to know things:

One a study has sighted chemical sprays, herbicides, fungicides and insecticide are a contributing factor to colon cancer.

Likely you are aware that there is a public inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic taking place here in New Zealand, and I presume most of us will be interested in the findings if they are done without any bias which is like hoping that pigs will fly one day.

See what Dr Guy Hatchard has to say…

Also the silly and undemocratic, ‘The Natural Health Products Bill’ is to be squashed this week in parliament thanks to the current coalition Govt.

Image credit: Anastasia Pixner

Products mentioned are from Wallys Range of products and can be found in some garden shops or by Mail Order on www.0800466464.co.nz

Problems ring me at: Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at www.gardenews.co.nz
Shar Pei pages at www.sharpei.co.nz
Mail Order products at www.0800466464.co.nz

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