What to do this week: A bad season for lawn grub!22 March 2021 Sandra Ross
Much worse than usual, the warmth and the moisture has caused a proliferation of lawn grub, the worst in a decade!
Typically you notice the damage before you see the pest.
Lawn grubs like this curl grub are in big numbers this year.
Most of these lawn pests either live under ground or hide in the thatch of your lawn - well away from the eyes of predators. A bucket of warm, soapy water works a treat in bringing them up to the surface for identification. You may be surprised at the variety of critters this process can raise, but remember that it is only with population explosions in these pests that serious problems result.
These pesky insects are hard to control. We suggest a specific control for the grubs using either Searle’s Lawn Grub Killer a liquid concentrate you dilute and spray on, Yates Grub Kill & Protect for Lawns, or Richgro Lawn Beetle and Grub Killa granules. They are all insecticides and have cautions for usage on the labels.
For more information, go to https://www.gardenclinic.com.au/how-to-grow-article/how-to-rid-the-lawn-of-pests.
Sow Sweet Peas
This week we give you another option for growing sweet peas from our much-loved Ross tour leader (and fine horticulturist) Colin Barlow.
Colin sows sweet peas in pots from around St Patricks Day (17 March) up until late June and again directly in pots or the ground in early Spring. There are 15 to 20 seeds in each packet, so you can usually get 2 to 3 pots per small packet of seeds.
Sweet pea. Photo - Noel V. Baebler/Shutterstock
Step by step:
1.Take a 130mm or 140mm plant pot and fill it 3/4 of the way up with a premium potting mix.
2.Tap the pot to settle the mix.
3.Place the pot in bucket or tray of water. The water level should be just below the level of the potting mix.
4.When the mix changes colour and darkens, you will know that the soil is moist. This should only take a few minutes.
5.Remove the pot from the bucket of water and allow to drain.
6.Place between 6 to 8 seeds per pot. I usually put 5-6 seeds around the outside and 2 or 3 in the middle.
7.Push them gently into the mix.
8.Cover with 5cm or to just under the rim with dry potting or seed/cutting mix from the bag.
9.Do not water them.
10.Place them in an area where they will not receive any rainfall or irrigation water until after they germinate. It should be a frost-free area under the house eaves, in a plastic propagator, cold frame or glasshouse.
11.Cover the pots with a couple of sheets of newspaper.
12.Remove the newspaper as soon as the plants germinate.
13.When the plants have two sets of leaves pinch out the tops to induce bushiness and side shoots. Alternatively carefully snip the tops with some sharp scissors or secateurs.
14.In late winter or early spring the small pots can be planted directly in the garden. Alternatively two to three 130/140mm pots of sweet peas can be planted in to a 40 or 50cm pot. I use metal vegetable or topiary frames for support. You can also use tripods, tomato frames or stakes.
15.Mix a little controlled release fertiliser like Osmocote and organic fertiliser like Rooster Booster, Dynamic Lifter or Pure Organic into the soil or potting mix when you plant them out or pot them up into larger pots and containers.
16.Deadhead any flowers to promote further flowering. The more you pick the more you will get.
17.Avoid liquid fertilisers high in Nitrogen. Powerfeed for Flowers and Fruit works well.
18.Don’t forget to collect some dry seed pods before they ‘split or pop open’ for sowing next year.