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Sap-suckers and other nasties

Spare a thought for your fruiting plants this summer — they need help to stay hydrated, well-fed and fend off pests.

Summer and stone fruit trees such as apples, peaches, nectarines and apricots which have finished fruiting can be summer pruned now. This reduces their water requirements over the heat of summer and also maintains trees at a perfect height for picking next season's fruit.

Trim back this season's growth by 30 to 40 percent which keeps trees under control and promotes plenty of growth for next year's crop.

‘Passionate' Fruit Anyone?

Passionfruit will benefit from an application of Yates Flower and Fruit Booster Liquid Potash as plants need potassium to encourage prolific flowering and improve fruit quality. Heavy rainfall can leach nutrients out of the soil too, so nutrients need to be replaced.

In dry areas, give passionfruit a good deep drink each week as lack of moisture can result in early fruit drop. And if you have a grafted passionfruit, keep an eye out for suckers, which is growth that develops below the graft. These suckers can quickly overtake the plant and should be regularly removed.

Potted Fruit Trees

Potted fruit trees and plants require extra care over summer. Plants in pots dry out a lot faster than in-ground plants and can also rapidly exhaust their supply of nutrients.

Regularly check the moisture levels in the potting mix by gently digging your finger into the top few centimetres. If some of the potting mix sticks to your finger, leave watering for a day or so. If it feels dry and dusty, it's time to water.

During summer you can feed and water fruiting plants at the same time with Yates Thrive Flower Fruit Soluble Plant Food, which is a complete plant food to promote healthy leaf growth as well as lots of flowers and fruit.

And don't forget to mulch over the top of the mix — this will help reduce moisture loss.

Sooty Citrus

Have you noticed a black, ash-like film on citrus leaves and stems, or ants crawling up and down the tree?

Insect pests can be the single cause of both the black ash (called sooty mould) and the ants.

Scale insects are sap-suckers, covered in a waxy white or pink coating which protects their soft bodies from predators. Scale insects also exude “honey dew” which is eaten by ants and can attract a black sooty mould.

Control the scale insects by spraying thoroughly using Yates Conqueror Spraying Oil, which smothers and kills insect pests. Once the insects are under control, the sooty mould and the ants won't have a food source and will gradually disappear.

Watering tip

Don't forget to deep water citrus trees each week to maintain adequate soil moisture as the fruit is setting for this autumn and winter's crop.

— Courtesy of Yates

Picture supplied