Latest posts by BobTheGardener

Bare root agapanthus

Posted: 21/11/2015 at 14:02

They prefer slightly acid to neutral (pH 5 to 7) but are not fussy although I wouldn't risk planting in pure ericaceous which will be about pH 4 to 4.5.  The issue with acid soil is that it prevents the take up of certain nutrients.

Grease bands

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:45

Probably not, or not much.  Grease bands are primarily to prevent ants climbing trees to 'farm' aphids and to stop Winter moth caterpillars, neither of which are a cause of maggots in fruit.

Maggoty fruit is caused by flying insects, such as the Codling moth and Plum moth.  You can buy hormone traps for those which can help a little but are primarily intended to tell you when to spray with insecticide.  If you don't want to use insecticides then try the hormone traps alone and you might get a little less damage.

Or just close your eyes when you eat the fruit!

frost and soil

Posted: 20/11/2015 at 12:36

Fully agree.  Unless we have a prolonged period below freezing, frost only penetrates a few milimeters into soil and probably won't affect soil under membrane at all.  When exposed frozen clumps of soil thaw, the thin layer affected by frost will crumble and be washed off by the next rain, exposing a new layer to be broken down by the next frost.

Is this fungus

Posted: 16/11/2015 at 00:29

If it is only affecting that branch then removing it might well save the tree.  Cut the branch off at the collar, close to the trunk in midsummer.  Instructions here:

The second photo down on this page shows the collar:

Don't be tempted to remove the branch until early to mid summer otherwise the bacterial canker could spread or the tree could be infected with silver leaf disease which would definitely finish it off.

Hope it works Tony.

magnolia watershoots

Posted: 16/11/2015 at 00:12

It will only produce 'watershoots' which are vertical, fast growing shoots, if you prune it hard.  In general, magnolias don't need to be pruned so no need to worry.


Posted: 15/11/2015 at 19:22

I have some tucked away in a shady corner and it does ok - always covered in bees!  Because it is deep rooted I don't think it will compete with nearby shrubs.  If you give the shrubs a mulch with harvested comfrey leaves, they will probably do even better than at present.

New Allotmemt- help with designing needed

Posted: 15/11/2015 at 19:16

Good advice there Steve & Ceres.  The fact that rotovating kills worms is something I think a lot of folk forget!  Can't beat hand digging and, although it is hard work, it's an excellent way to keep fit.  Pick out every bit of root you see while digging Charlotte and that will help get rid of the nasty perennial ones.  My advice is to do one section at a time, and do it well.  That way you will see genuine progress and can feel proud of what you have done, otherwise it can be a bit daunting if you try (and fail) to do the whole plot in one go.


Posted: 15/11/2015 at 19:04

If you know anyone with an allotment, they may be happy to take it Gertie.

New allotment- what's this tree?

Posted: 15/11/2015 at 16:57

I agree with Steve - have a rustle through the undergrowth around the tree to see if you can find any rotten fruit or stones.  If it's a plum or cherry there will be a few stones in which case don't prune it until summer.  If it's an apple or pear you can prune it in mid winter.


Posted: 15/11/2015 at 16:11

Yes Gertie, comfrey has huge roots which need to go down very deep - not one for a pot I'm afraid.  As an aside, it is comfrey's ability to root deeply which enables it to draw up trace elements from deep in the soil and helps make it such a valuable plant for making liquid feed.  Some of those trace elements are often depleted in topsoil as they have been used up by shallow-rooted plants.

Discussions started by BobTheGardener

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1 to 15 of 36 threads