Beat the heat

The Advertiser - - WEEKEND EXTRA - YOUR GUIDE -

A LIT­TLE STEAM HEAT

Cli­ma­tol­o­gists are sug­gest­ing trop­i­cal weather ac­tiv­i­ties over South Aus­tralia this sum­mer are likely to re­sult in pe­ri­ods of in­creased hu­mid­ity (and pos­si­bly trop­i­cal rain­fall).

While most gar­den plants thrive when con­di­tions are hu­mid, high hu­mid­ity can also lead to a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of leaf­dam­ag­ing fun­gal dis­eases.

RUSTS

SA gar­dens are usu­ally rel­a­tively free from rust dis­eases, thanks largely to our rel­a­tively dry sum­mer cli­mate. How­ever, this sea­son keep a close watch on the leaves of roses, gera­ni­ums, snap­drag­ons and a range of soft-leaved ev­er­green shrubs.

Rusts are spread very rapidly by nu­mer­ous brown, yel­low or orange pow­der-like pus­tules that sud­denly ap­pear on the un­der­side of plant leaves. Se­ri­ously af­fected leaves quickly wilt and die.

Rusts are ef­fec­tively con­trolled by spray­ing the fo­liage thor­oughly with Man­cozeb, Tri­forine or Zale­ton (or­na­men­tals only).

How­ever, you may care to try a rel­a­tively new or­ganic fungi­cide con­tain­ing potas­sium bi­car­bon­ate. This is now avail­able com­mer­cially and sold as eco-Rose or ecoFungi­cide.

POW­DERY MILDEW

This is an­other dam­ag­ing leaf fun­gus that thrives when con­di­tions are hu­mid, mild to warm (not hot) and dry.

Pow­dery mildew can af­fect a very wide range of vegeta­bles and or­na­men­tals.

Look for grey pow­der-like ma­te­rial on both sides of plant leaves. Pow­dery mildew can be con­trolled be­fore it is well es­tab­lished by spray­ing plants with milk (one part milk, 10 parts wa­ter).

Also rec­om­mended are eco-fungi­cide and wet­table sul­phur.

DOWNY MILDEW

Gar­den­ers grow­ing grapevines will need to keep a watch out for downy mildew when con­di­tions are hu­mid and re­main wet for up to 24 hours.

Those with stone fruits may need to pro­tect their crops at har­vest from the brown rot fun­gus.

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