Latest posts by BobTheGardener

What is eating my cooking apple tree?

Posted: 21/06/2012 at 23:03

Excellent work in both digging them out and identifying as Leopard Moth grubs, Nicole!  As it is a relatively young tree it will probably heal itself with bark eventually growing over the damage.  As Alina says, best to stake it to prevent wind damage, now trunk has been weakened at that point.

Copy and paste from web pages doesn't work well on this site - if you paste into Notepad first, then copy from there, it will work as expected.


Posted: 19/06/2012 at 22:36

I've had to give up growing hollyhocks due to increasingly severe rust each year - so much so that it weakened even new healthy plants within a season to the point that they looked pretty miserable!  Such a shame as I love them, especially as my garden is very much 'cottage' style.  I might give them another try, but in pots, next year, to keep them away from the soil.  Has anyone tried growing them in pots?  They'd have to be staked to prevent the wind blowing them over, although I could try part-burying the pots in the borders to provide stability.

Peace Hybrid Tea Rose

Posted: 19/06/2012 at 19:18

I agree with Geoff - sounds like your soil is actually too rich in Nitrogen.  My 'Peace' rose has never been fed and does really well (clay soil.)  It's actually a bit too vigorous if anything!  I once read that this particular variety likes a bit less pruning than we usually give to Hybrid Tea roses.  Google just came up with this - specifically mentions 'Peace' some way down:

Talkback: How to plant a grapevine

Posted: 19/06/2012 at 19:09

Hi Sterelitza, Sorry about the delay in replying.  For this year, once you see a bunch of grapes developing, count 3 leaves towards the growing tip and prune it there, just above the 3rd leaf, which will help the grapes to develop.  It will keep sprouting more shoots from the junction of each of the 3 remaining leaves and stem, which you can pinch out as soon as you see them.  The vine's energy will then go into the fruit instead of more leaves which it doesn't need.  Next Winter, follow the vine from the root and cut every sideshoot off, leaving a short bit of it with 2 buds.  What you are trying to achieve is one main vine, with lots of short side shoots.  Each of these will grow next year and will be capable of producing one bunch of grapes.  If it has already grown too high in the apple tree to prune, you could cut it back to a height you can reach, but only do that in mid-winter.

Talkback: How to plant a grapevine

Posted: 19/06/2012 at 18:58

Hi Sallyannie, We all do the same!  If you treat it as I suggested, there's a good chance it will eventually produce edible grapes.  It might be more of a decorative kind though, in which case you will still get to enjoy the leaves turning colour (usually to orange/red) in Autumn.  Once established, they can be very vigorous and you might have trouble keeping up with it!

Gobbledy goop

Posted: 17/06/2012 at 22:51

Copy and paste from web pages (including this site) don't work properly - some of the underlying (HTML) code is somehow included.

What you can do is copy & paste text into Notepad (if using Windows), then copy & paste back from Notepad into a forum post - this clears the rubbish leaving only the text.  Fiddly but works.

If edit was fixed, we could at least use that instead..

Lily bugs

Posted: 17/06/2012 at 13:16

Like most beetles, they can fly and are attracted by the smell of lily plants.  They are an invasive species which are not native to the UK but are now extremely widespread here - so much so that some folk have actually given up growing lilies.  Keep a look out for them, especially when the sun is out, as it is then that they usually sit on the highest leaves and waft pheremones into the air to attract a mate.  If you want to read more about them, the RHS has a lot of info:


Lily bugs

Posted: 17/06/2012 at 10:54

Check under the leaves, too, for their eggs (laid in batches of 20 or so).  Those are also bright red and can easily be rubbed off - much less messy than dealing with the larvae!

What is eating my cooking apple tree?

Posted: 16/06/2012 at 19:52

Hi Nicole, With the extra info, especially the speed of the attack, I think you are right and you probably have a borer grub at work there.  Try a google for "apple tree borer" which may give you some ideas on ways to treat it.  Some of the google images look very similar to your photo's.  If you don't get it soon and it eats it's way around the circumference of the trunk, the tree will die. 

What is eating my cooking apple tree?

Posted: 16/06/2012 at 17:02

If that is ordinary grass at the bottom, I would guess the trunk is about an inch or so in diameter?  Just trying to gauge the size of the wound.  It looks to me as though something has gnawed away part of the bark (eg rabbits, or deer if it is a larger tree than I have guessed.)  The red stuff is probably resin produced by the tree in response to the wound - cherries can produce quite a lot of that.  What worries me is that there seems to be a gap between the wood of the trunk inside and the bark, and the dark colour of the trunk wood (which I would expect to be creamy white, or grey on an older wound.)  That could all point to a fungal attack f some kind, as Alina mentions.  

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