OTHER HIBERNATORS

South Wales Echo - - Your Garden -

If you don’t have a pond at home, look at in­stalling one now to get ready for next year.

If you don’t have small chil­dren at home, they’re mar­vel­lous to have in the gar­den both for am­phib­ians and for birds and hedgehogs to drink from.

In­stall a pond with slop­ing sides to al­low crea­tures to es­cape eas­ily and check reg­u­larly at this time of year to en­sure it hasn’t frozen over, mak­ing water in­ac­ces­si­ble. If frozen, use hot water to thaw the ice as smash­ing it can harm pond in­hab­i­tants. Al­ter­na­tively, leave a ten­nis ball float­ing on the sur­face, which will leave a nat­u­ral space if the ice cov­ers the rest— then crea­tures will still

have a breath­ing hole. IN­SECTS like stag bee­tles and la­dy­birds also need to hi­ber­nate dur­ing win­ter. To help them, sim­ply leave a bit of your gar­den un­tidy. It works par­tic­u­larly well left at the back of your plot, un­der­neath a hedge or tucked round be­hind the garage.

Add in a few leaves, stacked logs, or ter­ra­cotta pots on their side. La­dy­birds will eat around 5,000 aphids in their life­time so are mar­vel­lous to have in the gar­den. I pick up a few open pinecones on a wood­land walk and then stuff them into net­ted fruit bags from the shop­ping.

Sim­ply leave them in shel­tered parts of the gar­den to help the la­dy­birds to help you. Be care­ful not to leave them too low or ground­based crit­ters like hedgehogs might get caught in them.

So, you don’t have to spend a lot to sup­port a habi­tat for many gar­den-friendly hibernators this win­ter. Pro­tect­ing th­ese lit­tle crea­tures and keep­ing them tucked up dur­ing the win­ter means they’ll be able to get started when the weather warms up.

It will help in­crease the pop­u­la­tion and pro­tect your plants next spring.

HOW can I pro­tect my ten­der plants from frost?

Q A

THERE are sev­eral things you can do. For very ten­der pot­ted plants, bring in­side or into a green­house.

For oth­ers – es­pe­cially shal­low-rooted plants like straw­ber­ries – ap­ply a thick mulch to keep roots warm.

You could also cover plants with frost fleece at night.

Make sure con­tain­ers don’t get water-logged, and in­su­late pots with bub­ble wrap.

Q

Mal­colm via email

MY PLANTS are in­fested with white­fly. What can I do to get rid of the prob­lem? Si­mon

A

WHITE­FLY can ap­pear in late au­tumn if it’s warm. The first frosts of Novem­ber should kill off any in­fes­ta­tions out­side. If any re­main in glasshouses or in­doors, con­sider in­tro­duc­ing En­car­sia for­mosa, a tiny par­a­sitic wasp avail­able via mail or­der from bi­o­log­i­cal con­trol sup­pli­ers.

Th­ese wasps lay eggs in­side the white­fly and quickly get rid of the prob­lem.

■ Visit david­domoney.com for more hints and tips. You can also fol­low him on Face­book at DavidDomoneyTV or @ david­domoney on Twit­ter.

White­fly

La­dy­birds (above) and stag bee­tles (right) need to hi­ber­nate

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