JJ’s garden solutions
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.