man who always has the answer for gardeners with a problem, Reg
Moule has been a popular voice on BBC Radio Gloucestershire for
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Reg your gardening question
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
I have a Trachycarpus Fortunei growing in a large tub this year
it is becoming very yellow, is it lacking in something?
I would feed it using a fertiliser with extra iron, like Levington
Rhododendron and Azalea Plus. Make sure that the compost is not
In my patio pot plants, They seem to have a lot of woodlice type
bug which live in there and breed. Is there anything I can treat
them with so they don't attack the plants. The get in through the
bottom of the pots.
Yes, they probably are woodlice and they do not do much damage to
established plants so you could just ignore them. If you feel that
you'd like to deter them just dust the compost and under the pot
with an ant powder.
My neighbour is shovelling dog faeces into my hedge. The hedge now
looks weak & thin. My tree trimmer said my hackberry tree is
dying. This tree is also exposed to the faeces. What to I have to
do to decontaminate the area, after my neighbour removes the faeces?
Once the dog muck has been removed the area will need to be thoroughly
disinfected, but after that things should be OK again.
How do I prune my dracaena as it is getting to large.
Dracaena can be pruned now if you wish, when pruning becomes necessary
it is usually carried out in late April/May as the plant comes back
into good growth. Just remove as much of the newer growth as you
would like but do not prune back into old wood.
We have a gleditsia triacanthus 'Sunburst', about 20 ft high, suffering
from a bad attack of gall midge. Can you suggest a way of getting
rid of these midges and/or preventing attack in future years?
Although Gleditsia gall midge looks very unsightly it does not really
affect the vigour of the tree too much. The variety that you have
is particularly susceptible to attack. Adult midges emerge from
the soil under the trees from early May and lay eggs on the leaflets.
Larvae feed within the galls as they develop and pupate in them.
There are several adult generations during the summer with the last
lot of larvae overwintering in the soilas cocoons.
are not easy to control but applications of ant killer powder around
the bottom of the tree in early May could well kill some adults
as they emerge. Where the tree is growing in a border raking over
the soil to expose the pupae to the birds couls account for a few
as well. Smaller trees may be protected by applications of Bio Greenfly
Killer Plus or Scotts Bug Clear which would kill the egg laying
When can I first cut my new lawn without damaging it?
If you use a hover mower cut over it when the grass is about 3in
(7.5cm) tall just taking the top off it. Do not attempt this if
the lawn is very moist.
When I was in Cornwall last year I noticed that a lot of Hydrangeas
in gardens were a rich ruby red. I managed to get some cuttings
which have now grown into the usual pink. I put it down to the soul
but what can I do to get the red back?
Yes, you are quite right the colour is probably due to soil conditions.
The best thing to do to try to get a deeper red colour would be
to apply a dressing of sulphate of potash, about a handful to the
We have just bought a house with 4 leylandii trees right in the
middle of the garden that need to come down. They are about 12 feet
high and quite bushy. I was quoted£850.00 to cut them down
and take them away which I thought exorbitant. I would like t do
this myself and am willing to buy a shredder. How much would I expect
to pay for a decent shredder for the lighter branches? Best regards
As with most things in life, to an extent you get what you pay for
as far as garden machinery is concerned. You would need a fairly
strong shredder to cope with even the lighter Leylandii branches
and I would recommend a visit to a reputable dealer to see what
sort of offers were available.
Two quick questions. I've planted privets 10 months ago and they
haven't grown since last summer (I'm trying to grow a hedge). Is
it just that limited or no growth will occur from Autumn to Spring?
My second question is how soon this year is it suitable to sow grass
Grass seed can be sown as early as mid March but really it depends
on what the weather conditions are like at the time. You cannot
really garden by the calendar alone the prevailing weather makes
a big difference.With the privet it is normal for them not to grow
during the winter as they are in a near dormant condition waiting
for the weather to warm-up again in spring.
30 year old rowan tree. OK until two years ago last year and this
few buds little foliage no blossom or berries. Any ideas on problem?
Really I could do with a bit more info. As to whether the leaves
appeared then turned brown or if the buds simply did not shoot at
all. The lack of leaves would lead to there not being much spare
energy to make flowers and suppoer berries. Scrape the bark on the
bare stems with your finger nail to check if there is green,moist
tissue beneath it.If so then the shoot is not dead and the tree
is likely to recover if it is kept fed and watered.
the tissue exposed is brown and dry then the shoot is dead and should
be pruned out.Really I need more details to work out what the trouble
Is it OK to plant out a Viburnum Bodnantense Lamonte in January?
Yes it is.
I have a large and a small Napoleon cherry tree in my garden. The
fruit is fantastic so last year for the first time I collected a
lot of stones. Is there a way you can grow cherry trees from stones
as I would like to give people trees to grow.
Yes you can just plant the stones individually in 9cm pots of John
Innes Seed Compost and place them outside. You might like to put
a layer of horticultural grit over the surface to deter moss growth.
It could take some time for them to come up and they cannot be relied
upon to produce good crops of cherries, as they will not be exact
copies of your parent tree.
Rabbits are chewing the bark on my trees. Is there anything I can
do to save the trees?
Putting a cylinder of small gauge wire mesh around the trunks of
the tree or some other type of tree guard should help to reduce
further damage. If the rabbits have eaten all around the trunk in
one place the tree is likely to die.
A Cooke asks:
I have a Palm Tree that I purchased in Spain. I have no other instructions
than to put the base of the tree in to water until it begins to
bud. That as now occurred, & now I'm at loss as to what to do.
Pot it up using John Innes No 3 compost with about 10% extra grit
added. Keep it well watered and it should begin to settle down and
My sempervivum started life as a happy clutch of rosettes just a
few weeks ago, but the central rosette has shot up to a height of
approx. 6inches and is rather leggy and pale green instead of ruby
tips. What am I doing wrong? Many thanks
I don't think that you are doing anything wrong, your plant is making
a flower bud.
Is there such a thing as champagne rhubarb? I have a plant from
my grandfather's garden and that's what he called it. If not how
could I find what variety it was?
Yes, there is a Rhubarb called Champagne, so your grandfather was
What is wrong with my palm tree? It bloomed and made this huge "appendage"
(on the top) which seams to suck the life out of the rest of the
tree. Should I cut this "appendage"? The stem of it is
so big I am afraid it will bleed to death. Please please help.
Yes the palm tree has flowered and this plus it's attempts to make
seeds has taken some strength from the plant. Just follow the stem
back from the flower as far as you can then cut it off.
I have a Acer Palmatum, which has been growing in a large pot for
three years quite healthy. But lately its leaves are shrivelling
and curling up and there is white sap like substance on the bark.
It has been in direct sunlight, but I was told that it needs dappled
shade, so I have moved it. Thank you.
Certainly moving the Acer into a semi shaded position will have
done it a great favour and it is likely to re-leaf.
Hello... could you please help me our laurel for the last few years
now the leaves curl and dry up could you please tell us what is
wrong... thank you
This sounds like powdery mildew, quite common on laurel particularly
when they get dry at the roots. Treat the problem by spraying the
plants with a fungicide like Scotts Fungus Clear or Bio Systhane
Fungus Fighter, repeat this dose a couple of times about 10 days
My potatoes each year never have clean skins to them but have wart
type blemishes to them. I live in a very lime stone area is this
the problem? but if so why do the farmers around me get good potatoes
Limey soils do tend to produce potatoes with a surface scabbing.Some
gardeners help to ward this off by lining the planting trench with
grass mowings. Some varieties are much more resistant to this problem
than others and as commercial growers tend to use modern varieties
this is why their crops are seldom affected.
varieties like Colleen,Accord and Swift for 1st earlies, Carlingford
and Maxine for 2nd earlies with Wilja and Picasso for maincrop.
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