21 September, 2019

Nov/Dec 2012

Jonathan Piercy

Timely tips from Jonathan Piercy for the rest of 2012

1. Rake up leaves for use as mulch or leaf mould. Do not leave them on the grass.

Roe deer

2. Lightly prune roses to avoid wind rock during the winter months.

3. Check all stakes and make sure that plants which require support are firmly secure for the winter winds.

4. Apply fleece to tender plants to avoid frost damage.

5. Finish planting out spring flowering bulbs.

6. Apply mulch to borders. This will break down over winter and will provide some frost protection for roots.

Wild rabbit

7. Plant out bare rooted fruit and ornamental plants between November and March.

8. Fix grease bands to fruit trees to protect against winter moths.

9. Garlic bulbs can be planted out.

10. If you are keeping the greenhouse frost free, check for flies and other overwintering bugs.

11. Watch out for damage from rabbits, rats, deer etc and protect accordingly.

12. Winter prune plants where the sap starts to rise early in the Spring.

 Jonathan Piercy



Peter Blackburne-Maze

Peter Blackburne-Maze muses on how to get rid of a particular determined garden pest of the vegetative kind.

This isn’t a particularly topical tip because we are into the autumn now when nothing will be growing until the spring but, as you will see, it’s well worth remembering this or just remembering; if you can be bothered!

One of the worst garden weeds has to be couchgrass.

You know it as well as I do. It’s usually to be found on land that isn’t being cultivated but cultivated ground adjoining it will soon get infested if nothing is done.

If it’s actually growing amongst vegetables, it should be very little bother; hoeing it when the soil is dry or digging it out should see an end of it in 3-4 years; and you won’t have to lay a finger on weedkillers.

If, though, you have just moved into a new house and the whole garden is stiff with it, you’re in trouble.

Trying to kill is when it comes up amongst wanted plants is virtually impossible without seeking the help of weedkillers.

However, getting rid of couch really isn’t as difficult as you might think; so long as you do it thoroughly and, in most cases, by using the right weedkiller. If you’re against using weedkillers, then you’re in real trouble.

Couch grass

The weedkiller involved (it’s active ingredient) is called ‘glyphosate’ and it is found in several garden products, such as Tumbleweed and Roundup. Ask at a garden centre or retailer and they’ll know just what you want. You can always check on the label.

Glyphosate is a ‘total’ weedkiller as opposed to a ‘selective’. This means that it kills all plants that it lands on; so don’t slosh it around. Make sure that it only lands on your intended victims. If it should land on any wanted plants, wash it off at once with water and keep your fingers crossed. It is inactivated once it gets into the soil.

Couch is at it’s worst amongst roses, shrubs and herbaceous plants where it is virtually impossible to dig out.

Amongst roses and shrubs (but not herbaceous plants) another material, called Casoron G., is better as it is granular. As such, it is easier to apply accurately and, of course, there is no drift onto wanted plants.

One of the best ways of clearing weeds from relatively large, empty areas is to cover the ground with black polythene. This kills all weeds by smothering them. It’s not brilliant on couch, though, as the sharp growing point (which is why it is also called ‘spear grass’) allows it to grow straight the polythene!

I know that all this is only applicable to the control of couch during the growing season but at least you can be ready to get off to a flying start next March/April.

Good luck!

Peter Blackburne-Maze


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