Our end of win­ter tasks

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - with Mandi McDon­ald GAR­DEN­ING SPE­CIAL­IST

AS the weather slowly be­gins to warm up, many un­wanted in­sects be­come more ac­tive in the garden. One of the big­gest pests at this time of the year is aphids. You will see aphids en­joy­ing the new growth on your roses. Check for them reg­u­larly and deal with them be­fore they have too big an im­pact. You can squash them by hand, hose off or spray with a gar­lic spray or an in­sec­ti­cide. Whichever method you pre­fer. Lawns will be look­ing dull and patchy at the end of a cold frosty win­ter. Weeds will be quick to take ad­van­tage of bare patches in your lawn so now is the time to start aer­at­ing, feed­ing and wa­ter­ing. Al­though we have had rain you need to make sure there is enough mois­ture in the ground to en­able good strong growth be­fore sum­mer. There are weeds that you can spray for now. Bindii is def­i­nitely one to get on top of while they are small and still eas­ily dealt with. If you only have a few you can dig them out by hand or spray with a her­bi­cide to help erad­i­cate. You will need to re­peat in a few weeks to en­sure you get the ones that ger­mi­nate af­ter the ini­tial spray. Many bulbs will be pok­ing their heads through the soil now and peren­nial plants will be send­ing out new shoots. This fresh growth is very tempt­ing to snails and slugs. Snails are not as ac­tive in the colder months but you will find their num­bers will in­crease as the tem­per­a­ture rises so it is best to pro­tect plants now. Snails are more ac­tive af­ter rain. Put out some eco friendly snail bait, crushed up egg shells or cop­per bar­rier tape to en­sure you get to en­joy your plants in their full spring glory! If you don’t mind some af­ter dark ac­tiv­ity in the garden, you can head out with a torch and hand re­move snails - this is when they are most ac­tive. If you have chooks or ducks, they will very hap­pily eat the snails for break­fast. Only feed them to your poul­try if you haven’t used snail bait. Re­mem­ber - start get­ting your fruit fly con­trol or­gan­ised now. Happy gar­den­ing.

◆ HUN­GRY: Gar­den­ers need to keep an eye out for snails at the mo­ment, as they are very at­tracted to new growth as a source of food.

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