How to

The most common gardening question is a lemon


Chat to any garden expert and they’ll tell you that there are some basic queries that come up again and again. Lemon trees always get a mention. But it isn’t just lemons that cause problems.

Other plants seem to cause continual consternation for gardeners, so here are six of the most common gardening questions:

How can I grow happy citrus?

Citrus, especially lemons, need well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Feed at least twice, and possibly three times, a year with a good citrus food such as Dynamic Lifter Advanced for Fruit & Citrus. PestOil will keep problems like scale, sooty mould and citrus leaf miner under control. Prune out some of the old wood each year. In heavy soils, use Yates Anti Rot to protect from root rot.

Why won’t my plant flower (or fruit)?

There can be many reasons, but give some thought to these possibilities. The plant may be too young and needs more time to reach maturity. It may not be getting enough sun. You may be pruning it too much, or pruning off the flowering wood. There may be too much leaf-promoting nitrogen in the soil and yo need to switch to a bloom-promoting fertiliser such as Thrive Flower & Fruit.

When is the right time to prune?

The general rule is to prune after flowering, but there are some exceptions. Summer bloomers (like gardenias and hibiscus) can be pruned in late winter before they make new spring growth. Spring bloomers are pruned immediately flowering finishes. Most deciduous fruit trees are pruned in winter or straight after their summer harvest. Most roses are pruned in winter but the exceptions are those that only bloom in spring. For them, it’s after flowering.

How do I start a vegie garden?

The current interest in growing home produce has seen many people keen to have a go at vegetables. A good book like Yates Garden Guide is an invaluable help to get you started. Choose a position in full sun, as very few vegies will grow in shade. Good drainage is a must. If in doubt, create a raised bed or, instead, choose to grow in boxes or pots. Enrich the soil before you plant by digging in some organic compost or aged manure. Remember, vegies need regular watering and feeding – they’re hungry and thirsty plants! Vegetables are also very seasonal, so make sure you choose the right variety for the time of year in your climate.

How do I control horror weeds like oxalis, onion weed and nutgrass?

Start by spraying the above ground leaves with Zero Rapid, or by carefully applying Zero with a Zero Weeding Brush. These weeds all have underground parts that will still be alive after the top dies down and will eventually re-shoot so make sure you keep going back and checking for new growth. You may need to continue monitoring for a number of years. It can also be helpful, where possible, to smother the weeds with a layer of weed mat or newspaper.

How to grow passionfruit?

Plant passionfruit against a wall or fence in a sunny spot. A non-grafted variety is less likely to produce unwanted suckers from the base. Feed at least twice a year with Yates Dynamic Lifter Advanced for Fruit & Citrus and keep well watered during hot weather. Don’t expect a good crop until the second year. Plant a new vine every three or four years so that there’s always a fresh young plant coming along.


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