Our prolific orange tree, said to have been planted in the 1830s, produces delicious, slightly bitter fruit each year. Are any other orange trees in Australia this old? I mulch with straw and sheep manure, and regularly sprinkle with citrus fertiliser.
Don Defenderfer, Launceston The nominal 40-year useful lifespan accorded to oranges is conservative. A celebrated tree in Europe died in 1898 after 473 years, and others in France are thriving at 375 years. The Mother Orange in California dates to 1856, and many trees in Florida are still bearing commercially after more than a century. Orange seeds came to Australia with the First Fleet and there was a citrus industry by 1897. Tasmania’s climate is challenging for oranges and yours is likely to be a Rough Seville. Your care regimen is good. Do readers know of other historic citrus?
My granddaughter and I follow the life cycle of the wanderer butterfly. What plants will help?
Jan Brammy, Cudlee Creek, SA Originally from North America, the monarch or wanderer butterfly is migratory and found across Australia. By feeding on the milky, toxic sap of milkweed or swan plant ( Asclepias species), the caterpillars become unpalatable to most predators. Adults feed on nectar from asters, thistles, Buddleia and Pentas.
Is it true that millipedes like organic snail bait and that this kills them too?
D. Sinclair, Adelaide Baysol is registered to kill snails and millipedes but is not organic, containing methiocarb. Iron-based pellets such as Multiguard are safer for pets and wildlife but not registered for millipedes. Anecdotally they work but can’t legally be recommended. You can also use diatomaceous earth, light traps or nematodes.