“Dear Jerry, my cocoa plants are infected with black pod disease. They are cropping OK, but can I do anything to improve their health?”, asks Peter in Townsville, Australia.
Hi Peter, Phytophthora is primarily a root rot disease and it can spread throughout a plant using the vascular system. Some plants are more susceptible than others and there may be multiple host plant species in your garden.
Certain types of Phytophthora can devastate entire landscapes (like Jarrah dieback, P. cinnamomi) and ruin orchards. This disease is recognised by conservationists as a key threatening process, it cannot be eradicated so you manage it.
Help! The fruit on my lemon are distorted and covered in ugly warts. What’s gone wrong? Can my tree be saved? Is there an organic remedy? Answer: An infectious fungal disease called lemon scab is responsible. And yes, this infection can be defeated organically and in more than one way.
If you live in south eastern Queensland and grow pawpaw, it’s worth a quick health check right now. Mild, calm, showery, humid winter weather is perfect for observing outbreaks of pawpaw black spot… Continue reading
“Parasites aren’t all bad, and mistletoes deserve a rethink. If you study them, you’ll discover that they’re fascinating Australian plants making a valuable contribution to the environment.”
Question: “Dear Jerry, In the last year, I have had a soil problem that looks normal on the surface, but when you dig into the mulch, it is grey and looks like a fungus… Continue reading
Question: When do I sow pumpkin? I read in gardening magazines pumpkin can be sown from spring to autumn in the subtropics. But advice on seed packets (and some magazines) suggest that pumpkin… Continue reading
Today a cool change has arrived, a reminder that June weather is supposed to be about winter, not the continuation of autumn as it has been. Will there be another winter?
May 2014 was the 351st consecutive month of above average global temperatures. Or put another way, any gardener under 30 years old will never have experienced normal growing conditions. This month’s weather has… Continue reading
‘Bellis’, Brisbane’s sustainable house and garden, produces 4 metric tonnes of compost a year. Using low till, ecologically sustainable gardening techniques enables this property to sequester 0.638 metric tonnes of atmospheric CO2 gas… Continue reading
A couple of brief April showers kept the grass green, but below the surface the soil remains dry. It’s ideal weather for propagating Cranberry Hibiscus and Four Seasons Herb, cuttings are rooting within… Continue reading
So there I was with Noel Burdette, in the pre-dawn darkness of Brisbane’s Cannon Hill. Groggy but organised, and with only a smartly dressed security guard as a witness, we got stuck in. Long… Continue reading
Any Australian can load their photos of native plants and animals on iNaturalist and ask for sightings to be identified by experts.