From Jon Lamb Communications
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December 20, 2019
We'll be taking a break over Christmas / New Year.
Our next newsletter will be published on Friday, January 10.

Heat damage widespread

Heat-stressed vegetables, particularly tomatoes,along with severe leaf burn on a range of ornamental plants will be a common sight tomorrow, following our first heatwave for the season.
Leaf burn is already more widespread than expected, with many plants located in full sun simply running out of soil moisture.
Unfortunately some gardeners are also reporting they have lost some of their favourite container-grown plants.
More on what gardeners are saying about the heat tomorrow morning on ABC Radio Talkback Gardening.

Running on empty?

Keen gardeners who like to check the soil before they re-water were surprised at how quickly the topsoil dried out both from containers and garden beds.
This is not surprising.
When temperatures climb into the 40s, plants with a healthy root system use every drop of moisture just to keep cool. 
It’s worth repeating
  • Plants with healthy roots (in the right location) that are well watered before the heat sets in will suffer little if any damage.
  • Plants located in the shade use 50 pc less water than those in full sun.
Here's how our readers reported which citrus varieties were most affected by gall wasps this season.

Citrus gall wasp hits backyard lemons hardest

Citrus gall wasp now looms as a major threat to backyard citrus – particularly lemons.
More than 62 percent of gardeners responding to the Good Gardening/ABC TalkBack Gardening citrus gall wasp survey, rated the pest as either moderate or severe.
Almost 70 percent of respondents have three or more citrus trees in the garden, with 82 percent indicating lemon trees were most affected.
The online survey, was designed to identify what action growers are taking to control citrus gall wasp and to identify the most effective methods for future control.
During the past season the most widely used method of control involved pruning affected citrus trees to remove galls caused by the wasp.
This method was used by 92 percent of respondents.
However, two relatively new control strategies were introduced into South Australia this season through the Good Gardening newsletter and ABC TalkBack Gardening.
The first involved smearing the galls with a horticultural glue early in spring, to prevent new-season wasps from emerging.
Later in the season gardeners were encouraged to spray trees with kaolin, a clay-based product to prevent new-season wasps from laying eggs and re-infecting their trees.
Horticultural glue was used by 40 percent of respondents.
Kaolin spray was tried by 34 percent of respondents.

The charts below show how readers rated the effectiveness of the control strategies.
Feature plant

Calibrachoa for instant colour

Calibrachoa, is one of the most popular plants for growing outdoors in containers. 
This is a vigorous plant that will mound or trail and looks great in hanging baskets, bowls, or mixed containers, with profuse small petunia-type flowers.
Calibrachoa thrive in full sun and will tolerate shade – but avoid over watering, as they don’t like wet feet. 
They are also low maintenance plants, with new growth quickly eliminating the need to remove spent flowers.
Easy Colour produce calibrachoa in a great range of colours including Blue, Coral, Mango, Red, Rose, White and Yellow.Easy Colour
These are easy to recognise in their distinctive four-cell, purple packs and will give you instant colour, as the plants are already starting to flower.
Easy Colour flowers, vegetables and herbs are available from good gardening outlets.
More information »

Evolvulus Blue My Mind

Brilliant blue blooms on plants that thrive in the hottest of weather – that’s Evolvulus Blue My Mind.
This is a very attractive dwarf shrub (30 x 30 cm) that literally flowers its head off.
The flowers are brilliant blue, the plants are fast-growing and adapt well to both garden beds and containers.
As a bonus they are happy to perform in sun or semishade.
Blue My Mind is an improved selection of evolvulus, with numerous branching stems and larger flowers.
This makes it ideal for growing in hanging baskets and courtyard containers as well as planting in the garden as a groundcover.
Water new plants regularly until they are well watered.
Proven Winners

More information »

Summer care for courtyard container plants

Many gardeners will receive attractive plants for growing in courtyard containers over the festive season.
If you’re concerned about how they will cope when temperatures start to climb, consider the following.
Check plant labels first and identify whether you’re plants should be grown in full sun or partial shade
Sun lovers   will need a strategy that will prevent the potting soil within their containers from overheating. I.e.
  • Double Potting   Placing your plants, still in their original containers, inside larger ceramic pots will help keep soil temperatures at an acceptable level.
  • Shading If possible locate your plants where they receives protection from mid and late afternoon summer sun.
  • Temporary shade Many sun loving plants will perform best if they are protected with temporary shading when temperatures are likely to exceed 32°C.
Shade lovers should get by with little additional protection.

An insurance policy for your garden

GoGo JuiceDid you know that fungi in the soil helps bacteria to survive under drought conditions, and therefore also helps to maintain plant and soil health?
Not only do fungi transfer signals and nutrients between plants, but they also interact with bacteria in the soil.
Fungi are good at living and growing in drier conditions, but these conditions are not ideal for bacteria, as they like a bit more moisture.
However, new research shows that a number of soil fungi can transfer water, carbon and nitrogen to certain bacteria.
Bacteria can also actively protect plants from attack by pathogens.
This protection is obviously critical in times of plant stress where they are more susceptible to attack, and in dry conditions plants need all the help they can get.

More information »
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Christmas plants unwrapped

As soon as possible after Christmas, remove the wrapping and soak the entire plant in a bucket or bath of water for 10-15 minutes. 
It's possible the previous watering was more than a week ago. 
Plants destined to grow in full sun that have been indoors in poor light for a while must be reacclimatised for at least two weeks.
Place outdoors in a shaded position where the light is as bright as possible.

It’s the season for all things summer-fruiting!

Why not brighten up a friend’s day with a fruit tree for their garden?
Potted trees can be planted throughout the year, even in the middle of summer if you keep the soil moist around their roots.

Tips for summer planting:
  • Choose a cooler day in the week to plan
  • Plant in the evening once the heat has reduced, water in well
  • Add Seasol to reduce any transplant stress
  • Mulch around the top of the plant (though keep mulch away from direct contact with the trunk) to minimise evaporation from the soil around the roots.
Planting fruit trees is an investment in your future and provides a great downtime activity to retreat to when you just need a bit of ‘space’ – as well as producing some fabulous and delicious fruits to share!

More information on many of the lesser known fruit variates recommended for SA gardens here »

Two great dwarf apple trees

Pinkabelle® and Leprechaun® have many exciting features for the home gardener.
Both are true dwarf varieties, with Pinkabelle producing medium-sized bright pink, sweet apples and Leprechaun full-sized, high-quality Granny Smith apples.
Both varieties pollinate one another and they also make great pollination partners for a wide range of apple varieties.
Because of their dwarfing size, both Pinkabelle and Leprechaun are ideally suited to planting in large pots or tubs – great for growing in small garden spaces, courtyards and patios.
Being smaller they also require less maintenance and are just as suitable for larger gardens.
Both varieties have been released in Australia by PlantNet® and are available through good garden centres supplied by Balhannah PlantNetNurseries.
A list of stockists is here »

Early apricots ripening now

Early apricot varieties are starting to ripen and, where trees have received occasional watering, yields are looking good.
To be effective bird protection should be in place before the critters begin feeding. 
Fruit that falls to the ground should be removed as it provides an excellent breeding ground for insects that spread fruit rotting diseases.

Seasol for heat stress recovery

If your plants are getting knocked around by the heat, get out there and give the whole garden a boost with Seasol to help it stand up to the stresses of summer.
Regular doses of Seasol help to stimulate strong, healthy root growth.
The result is a bigger, tougher root system with more access to precious water.
It also helps to strengthen cell walls, so plants are able to retain water for longer periods in the heat – and because it’s a health tonic (not a fertiliser) it is ideal to use in hot dry conditions.
Try it for yourself at home and watch the difference.
Seasol-treated plants take longer to wilt in the heat!
For an established garden, mix 30mL of Seasol in 9 litres of water into a watering can or bucket and apply it every two weeks or use a Seasol hose-on pack.
You can also use Seasol hose-on in a watering can, simply mix 200mL of Seasol hose-on per 9 litres of water into a watering can or bucket.
More information »

Send us your diary dates

Don't forget to send us your garden event dates and details for inclusion in the Good Gardening "What's On" calendar.
You can email us here »
Green living tips
Rain garden

Is your garden climate ready?

This week’s heatwave – the first for the season (this time arriving before Christmas) is yet another reminder that our climate is changing.
Here are five practical tips from the Urban Sustainability team with Natural Resources – Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges to help create a climate ready garden.
Collect rainwater to use on your garden during summer. For help with choosing the right size tank for your home and garden, click here.
Build a rain garden (pictured) to use water wisely. For a step by step video, click here.
Insulate your home to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. For ideas, click here.
Take care of trees and structures around your home to prevent injury and damage during extreme weather events.
Connect with your neighbours and community to help each other. For ideas, click here.
If you enjoy your garden and are looking for more practical ideas and information about what you can do outdoors to prepare for climate change, you may like to check out the extensive range of practical information prepared by the NRM Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges  Urban Sustainability team.
More information here »
Photo: City of Melbourne

Water new plants wisely

The secret to how quickly new plants begin growing after planting out is closely linked to the way you water.
During the first few weeks, all of the plant’s roots are located within the original rootball.
As such they only need a small amount of water, but this must be applied frequently, particularly in hot weather. 
The aim is to thoroughly soak the rootball and penetrate a few centimetres (only) into the surrounding soil.  This will encourage the roots to follow.
Once new top growth is obvious, you can assume the roots are elongating and at this stage, increase the amount of water, but reduce the frequency.
Lawn Care – Stefan Palm

A quick fix for festive lawns

If you are planning to enjoy a little time on the back lawn this Christmas, but after a string of 40ºC plus days it doesn’t look that great, SA turf consultant Stefan Palm has some sound suggestions that will help put a little life back into the lawn.
In this week’s lawn blog Stefan’s focus is definitely on moisture management – how much water, how often and, in particular, making sure the water you apply is soaking the lawn grass roots.
More information on watering, along with Stefan’s tips on preparing the lawn for Christmas here »

Water before you mow – not after

Watering stimulates lawn grass into immediate growth.  This growth reaches a peak three or four days after watering and then slows down.
If you wait until the fourth or fifth day after watering and then mow, the lawn will still look good, but it will not burst into immediate growth.
Paul Munns Instant Lawn

Harvesting garlic

Garlic bulbs are one of the few vegetables that need maximum sunlight and warmth at this time of the year – to assist with their maturity.
For long storage wait until leaf colour turns from green to pale yellow.
However, before lifting it is important that the bulbs (with their leaves still intact) sit and bake in the sun for 3 to 4 weeks to cure.
Withholding water before they begin to cure will help.
Keep the plumpest cloves for planting out next season.

Please keep your questions for Talkback Gardening

Good Gardening  is unable to answer individual reader's questions via email.
If you're looking for specific gardening advice please give me a call on ABC Radio Adelaide's Saturday morning Talkback Gardening  or speak to the experts at your local garden centre.

Talkback Gardening tomorrow

ABC Radio Adelaide Talkback Gardening this Saturday – phone me and Deb Tribe on 1300 222 891 and have your own gardening question answered.

Recovery after the heatwave, along with what good gardeners are doing this season to protect their garden plants from extreme heat.
Plus: Results from the Good Gardening newsletter/ABC TalkBack Gardening citrus gall wasp survey.
Weekend gardening weather

Regular garden attractions

Adelaide Botanic Gardens – free guided walks
Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide guided walks for the public at Adelaide, Mount Lofty and Wittunga Botanic Gardens, and Botanic Park.
More information »

The Waite Arboretum, Fullarton Road, Urrbrae

Open free to the public every day of the year from dawn to dusk, except on fire ban days. Free guided walks on the first Sunday of every month, 11 am to 12.30 pm.
Meet at the West lawn (Croquet Lawn) of Urrbrae House. Bookings not necessary.
More information »

Urrbrae House historic precinct gardens
At the end of Walter Young Avenue, off Fullarton Road, Urrbrae, or from the Urrbrae House gate, Claremont Avenue, Netherby.
Open from dawn until dusk every day. Free entry.
More information »

Carrick Hill
Heritage house museum and garden, the former home of Sir Edward and Lady Ursula Hayward. Open weekends & public holidays. Free admission into garden and grounds. 46 Carrick Hill Drive, Springfield.
More information »

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Disclaimer: Although all reasonable care is taken in preparing information contained in this email, neither Jon Lamb Communications (JLC) nor its officers, staff or suppliers involved in the editing and production of this email accept any liability resulting from the interpretation or use of the information set out in this document. Information contained in this document is subject to change without notice and is of a general nature and should not take the place of professional personal advice. No responsibility is accepted by Jon Lamb Communications for the accuracy of information contained in web sites linked from this email. Publication of an advertisement does not constitute endorsement by JLC of any product or service, or warrant its suitability.

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