It is most important to prevent grass and weeds growing around your plants and through your garden beds, since grass and weeds severely inhibit the growth of plants.
As a rule of thumb, you need to have a diameter of at least one metre free of grass and weeds around your plants if they are to grow well and establish. Think of commercial orchards, farmers obviously wants their fruit trees to grow and yield to their maximum capacity and farmers keep at least a two-metre diameter of clear soil around all their trees.
Tools For Weeding And Garden Maintenance:
A good desire to keep your garden looking great
Hand trowel or fork
A sprayer for spraying herbicide
A paint brush for applying herbicide around plants
To Control Weeds And Grass:
Prepare your soil thoroughly before planting, including killing all grass and weeds before you plant.
Regular hand hoeing and cultivation or hand weeding is the best way to maintain healthy soil and weed free gardens. Be careful when hoeing that you don’t damage fine roots near the surface or push soil around the stems of the plants.
Apply a thick layer of organic mulch around your plants to prevent weed growth, once you have planted the garden. See how and why I need to mulch my garden for further details.
We do not advocate the wholesale use of chemicals. However, if you have a particularly bad weed problem which is difficult to control and which is inhibiting the growth of your plants, then a timely application of herbicide such as Round-up is very useful to bring your garden or plantings back into a manageable balance. Apply Round-up before the weeds go to seed. Do not allow Round-up to contact the green leaves or stems of your plants, and be careful of chemical drift. Round-up will not harm plants if it contacts brown woody tissue. The best way of applying chemicals around existing plants is to mix up your chemical and apply the herbicide with your paintbrush. This will stop any overspray damaging existing plants in the garden.
Once your plants have grown and started to form a canopy, grass and weeds will be shaded out naturally
Don’t allow weeds to go to seed. Remember one years seeding = ten years weeding.
The worst disease you can have in your garden is the root-rot fungal disease Phytophthora. This disease is carried in the soil. It is a very serious disease since it kills the roots of plants. Plants infected with Phytophthora wilt and die from lack of water even in wet conditions, since the roots can no longer function. Phytophthora is most active in the hot humid summer months, and infected plants can wilt and die very quickly, literally overnight.
If you do find this dreadful disease in your garden:
1. Remove the affected plant and destroy it,
2. Wash your hands and garden equipment before going to other plants,
3. Treat the soil with a root-rot fungicide.
4. Mulch the affected area heavily with organic mulch, since mulch promotes the development of healthy micro-organisms in the soil which will help to keep the disease fungi under control.
5. Improve the drainage of your soil and don’t replant until after the Winter
Aphids are small insects which thrive on just about any plant. Any gardener knows what aphids are and may consider them their number one enemy. These small persistent critters seem to appear out of thin air and will encompass all new growth on any plant they can find. The best way to control aphids is to chemically treat the plant. we recommend the use of a selective insecticide.
One of the most common pests occurring on plants are Scale Insects and the associated Sooty Mould. Scale insects secrete a sugary substance which encourages the growth of mould, making your plants look black, mouldy and unsightly. Here’s how to treat scale and sooty mould. Treat the Sooty Mould by pouring detergent-water over the plant. To kill the scale insects you can use a Selective insecticide.
Another common and unsightly pest of native plants Pittosporum in particular is psyllids.
These insect pests cause a raised pimply surface on the leaves, and spread rapidly to disfigure the entire plant. The only effective treatment is to cut off all the affected tissue and destroy it, then spray the plant with a systemic insecticide.