Harden up for win­ter

The Tribune (NZ) - - AL FRESCO | GARDENING - WALLY RICHARDS

Now is the time to start hard­en­ing up plants for win­ter. Ten­der and pre­ferred plants will ben­e­fit from a sprin­kling of Fruit & Flower Power. Re­peat this com­bi­na­tion of mag­ne­sium which helps keep the fo­liage green, and potash which har­dens up the growth, once a month over win­ter and into spring.

Also ap­ply Sil­i­con & Boron soil drench, and a fo­liage spray of Sil­i­con Cell Strength­ener com­bined with Sil­i­con Su­per Spreader from the psyl­lid-con­trol­ling Sum­mer Cell Strength­en­ing kits to ten­der and pre­ferred plants only. There’s no need to do the whole gar­den.

Time to re­move the mulch and weed­mat from around cit­rus and other plants that can suf­fer or die from wet feet. Spray their fo­liage with Perk­fec­tion Supa at full strength and a month later at the lesser rate.

Perk­fec­tion boosts plant im­mune sys­tems and helps pre­vent root rots. Add Rain­gard if you have used Va­por­gard in the last 3 months.

Cit­rus trees es­pe­cially limes, as well as tamar­illo, banana, choko, and late toma­toes are among plants to spray with Va­por­gard for its frost pro­tec­tion abil­i­ties.

Va­por­gard will give plants down to mi­nus 3 de­grees of frost pro­tec­tion within three days of ap­pli­ca­tion for up to three months. Spray in sun­light so film sets quicker.

Va­por­gard de­vel­ops a poly­merised skin over each spray-droplet which fil­ters out UVA and UVB and pro­vides a sun­screen for the chloro­phyll, which is nor­mally un­der at­tack by UV light. This re­sults in a darker green fo­liage within a few days of ap­pli­ca­tion.

The chloro­phyll build-up makes the leaf a more ef­fi­cient food fac­tory pro­duc­ing more car­bo­hy­drates, of­fer­ing stress pro­tec­tion from mois­ture loss and ex­tra fuel for bet­ter growth and faster ma­tu­rity.

It also works fine as an­tifreeze for the oc­ca­sional frost ev­ery few days, but for a se­ries nightly of frosts, ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion from frost cloth is ad­vis­able.

Leave any frost-dam­aged and burnt leaves on the plant as they still of­fer some pro­tec­tion to the leaves lower down.

Only use Va­por­gard on ev­er­green plants, as de­cid­u­ous fruit trees and roses are able to cope with win­ter con­di­tions; but a spray of Perk­fec­tion on th­ese be­fore leaf drop would not go astray.

Plants do not re­quire much wa­ter in the win­ter, and this is es­pe­cially so for con­tainer plants both out­doors or in­doors.

Re­move saucers un­der out­door con­tain­ers as win­ter­ing plants don’t need them as reser­voirs. Re­place the saucers with a cou­ple of slats of wood to al­low free flow out of the drainage holes.

Wa­ter glasshouse plants in the morn­ing so the plants have a drier root zone when it gets colder in the af­ter­noon or evening.

Treat pow­dery mildew with a spray of bak­ing soda at one ta­ble­spoon per litre of wa­ter with 1ml of Rain­gard.

Cut off old rasp­berry canes. I cut back low both old and new canes and let the plants pro­duce a new lot. This gets rid of dis­ease and pests while new canes still crop well later in the sea­son..

Prob­lems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmer­ston North 3570606) Email wal­lyjr@gar­de­news.co.nz Web site www.gar­de­news.co.nz

PHOTO: FAIRFAX NZ

En­sure con­tainer plants are not over moist­ened dur­ing win­ter by plac­ing them in free-drain­ing mode.

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