About worms, lichen and moss con­trol

The Tribune (NZ) - - GARDENING - WALLY RICHARDS

Firstly, a sin­cere apol­ogy for en­cour­ag­ing gar­den­ers to cul­ti­vate worms for healthy soil and gar­dens. I had not con­sid­ered the im­pli­ca­tions of worm farm­ing as a high risk ac­tiv­ity. The new Health and Safety Re­form Bill has shown me the er­ror of my ways.

The good news is that en­ter­ing a pad­dock full of steers or bulls to col­lect mush­rooms or ma­nure for gar­dens and com­post heaps, is now clas­si­fied as low risk.

Ob­vi­ously the new clas­si­fi­ca­tion is to do with the type of worms used for worm farm­ing – tiger worms. The as­sump­tion was they were called tiger worms be­cause of their stripes, but are ob­vi­ously far more dan­ger­ous than that.

You only have to see how quickly they can clean up a rot­ting car­cass to ap­pre­ci­ate this.

There is only one ‘deadly’ tiger worm. All other worms liv­ing in the soil (over 4400 known and named) are sim­ply re­ferred to as earth­worms.

And now for some real dan­ger. Moss and liver­wort on wet paths can re­sult in bro­ken bones, es­pe­cially for se­niors. Moss in lawns looks un­sightly and in­ter­feres with grass growth. Liver­wort in gar­dens and on con­tain­ers can spread, ham­per­ing plant growth. On roofs, glasshouses, fences and paths it can be un­sightly, dam­ag­ing and dan­ger­ous. Lichen on trees causes dam­age to the bark over time.

An easy fix is Wally’s Moss & Liver­wort Con­trol. Mixed at ei­ther 50ml per litre of wa­ter for moss and liver­wort or 25ml per litre for lichen, it must be jet­ted on with a pump sprayer to force it into the tar­get area. Ap­plied cor­rectly it will not harm other plants or lawn, and is cost­ef­fec­tive when com­pared to sim­i­lar prod­ucts. It takes about two weeks to see the moss and lichen turn­ing colour and dy­ing com­pletely. Al­gae that forms in bird baths and the like can be easily cleaned up with just a cou­ple of drops in the wa­ter. To ac­ti­vate the kill fac­tors, blast the wa­ter with the hose to make it foam.

Be­fore us­ing in fish ponds, re­move the fish as the prod­uct de­pletes the wa­ter of oxy­gen and will cause them to die.

Af­ter treat­ing the pond, place an air stone on an air pump to get oxy­gen back into the wa­ter. Wait an hour or so, then put a ‘test’ fish into the pond to see if all is OK be­fore re­turn­ing the rest.

To keep the clean pond al­gae free, put a wad of straw into a plas­tic bag weighed down with a stone. Punch lots of lit­tle holes in the bag af­ter seal­ing it and toss it in. If it’s a large pond, use more than one bag and for farm size ponds just throw in a bale or two of straw. Re­place ev­ery 6 months.

Now to get my pro­tec­tive gear on so I can put food scraps into my worm farms.

Prob­lems? Ring me at 0800 466 464 (Palmer­ston North 357 0606) Email wal­lyjr@gar­de­news.co.nz Web­site: gar­de­news.co.nz

PHOTO: FAIR­FAX NZ

Dic­ing with dead­li­ness, an un­pro­tected worm-farmer takes his life in his hands.

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