JJ’s gar­den so­lu­tions

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A ben­e­fi­cial fun­gus Jo­han Marx of Pre­to­ria writes

Sev­eral plants in one of our flowerbeds have per­ished. When we re­moved them, there were grey strands be­neath the soil; we were won­der­ing if it might be a fun­gus? There were also white growths around the roots. Must we treat the soil with some­thing?

JJ replies You can treat the soil with a fungi­cide such as Odeon or Myco­guard. How­ever, not all fungi are harm­ful. Most of those white strands are ben­e­fi­cial my­c­or­rhizal fungi that def­i­nitely don’t need to be erad­i­cated. The fungi prob­a­bly de­vel­oped on the roots af­ter the plants died.

What tree is this? Jul­liet Lwi­indi of Kitwe, Zam­bia writes

I’d like to know more about this tree in my gar­den as I want to buy an­other one; can you help?

JJ replies It’s known as Ter­mi­na­lia man­taly and it is in­dige­nous to Mada­gas­car and the tropical regions of Africa. This tree is char­ac­terised by a strong, up­right-grow­ing main stem and lay­ered side branches that grow out at 90° from the main stem. It’s used in many ci­ties to line the streets.

Plant food Koot Slab­ber writes

I’m cur­rently giv­ing my plants 3:1:5 fer­tiliser, and wa­ter­ing well. Is it still nec­es­sary to work in com­post and bone­meal?

JJ replies Yes, com­post aer­ates the soil. It also adds nec­es­sary or­ganic mat­ter and small amounts of car­bon, which is one of the eas­i­est ways to en­cour­age the pres­ence of mi­crobes in the soil. Bone­meal con­tains a lot of cal­cium, which strength­ens plant cells, as well as phos­phates, which pro­mote root de­vel­op­ment.

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