TREAT YOUR CIT­RUS RIGHT

NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Garden Tasks This Week -

Packed with vi­ta­min C, cit­rus is a win­ter main­stay. If you munched on man­darins in au­tumn, juiced tan­ge­los and blood or­anges through win­ter, had grapefruit break­fast cock­tails and cooked with masses of limes and lemons too, then now is the time to show your ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Col­lect all dropped fruit and bin or burn it. Bugs and dis­eases can flour­ish in wind­fall fruit. Clear weeds to pro­mote air flow and re­move root com­pe­ti­tion and ap­ply a good side-dress­ing of com­post to each tree. Note what needs prun­ing, but leave any trim­ming un­til late sum­mer when the lemon tree borer stops fly­ing. Cit­rus trees typ­i­cally don’t need prun­ing, but some­times the branches of ma­ture trees need thin­ning to in­crease air­flow, which helps to re­duce the risk of dis­eases. If you do prune be­fore late sum­mer, cover the cuts with a prun­ing paste to pre­vent borer from en­ter­ing. Feed your trees reg­u­larly. Lit­tle and of­ten is best. Cit­rus in the ground are best fed with a spe­cial­ist cit­rus fer­tiliser ev­ery six weeks from Septem­ber to March. Cit­rus planted in con­tain­ers can be given a slow-re­lease fer­tiliser in Septem­ber (if you missed the boat you can do it now) and again in sum­mer, with a monthly ap­pli­ca­tion of liq­uid fer­tiliser. Ap­ply a layer of mulch to con­serve mois­ture in the soil and to keep down weeds, which com­pete for mois­ture and nutri­ents.

Sow root crops, es­pe­cially car­rots. Make sure they don’t dry out once they have been planted. Last quar­ter Oc­to­ber starts in the moon’s Last Quar­ter phase and there’s lit­tle that can be done in terms of sow­ing and grow­ing but it’s the ideal time for...

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