Is grass grub damaging your lawn?

A Grass grub infestation can be devastating to lawns leaving an aftermath of brown and yellow patches across the lawn. The best way to tell if you have grass grub damaging your lawn is to dig up a patch of turf and flip it over. When the grass grubs are doing the most damage they should be visible among the roots of your lawn. They will look like a 25mm white/creamy C shape with a brown head above six legs. A sign you have pests in the lawn is lots of bird activity.

To control the infestation a chemical control is advised. Females lay eggs shortly after they emerge from hibernation in spring. Therefore if you leave an infestation untreated you or your neighbour are more likely to have a problem next season. We recommend using Kiwicares Lawnguard Granules applied February – May. Applications outside of this time frame will be less effective as the grass grub will be too deep in the soil for the product to reach.

We always say that chemical controls should be a last resort, however there are no reliable organic controls. So if you want to avoid applying strong chemicals and damaging your soil life then prevention is what you need. Keep the lawn healthy by aerating and topdressing once a year and fertilize with organic options like blood and bone. Grass grub thrive in moist conditions so water less frequently but for longer, this will  encourage a stronger root system that can manage a little nibbling. Raising the height on your mower for spring will also discourage females trying to lay eggs and will also encourage deeper roots.

Encourage predators, which are mainly birds like starlings and blackbirds. These floor feeding birds appreciate fruit and mealworms on a floor feeder. However blackbirds are most attracted by leaf litter that they can turn over searching for insects and gardens with low shrubs and trees. Starlings are attracted to places with large trees that have enough space to hold a colony, although this can get a little noisy. Another predator of grass grub are said to be wasps which are usually attracted to woody plants and leaf litter.

Once you have controlled your infestation of grass grub you will need to resow any patches in either autumn or spring when the temperature is around 10 degrees celsius. Make sure to give the lawn a good rake first removing all the dead grass, this will also ‘fluff up’ the soil a little making germination easier. To save time it’s a good idea to also spray lawn weeds a few weeks before reseeding patches.

Easter Sale

Happy Easter! To celebrate the long weekend we are having an Easter sale. Grab some savings with 20% off exotic shrubs, 25% off roses, 25% off perennials and more. Ends Monday 4pm.

Easter opening times are:
Good Friday: 10 – 4pm
Saturday 15th: 9 – 5pm
Easter Sunday: 10 – 4pm
Easter Monday: 10 – 4pm

Rose Catalogue

All of our roses for the season will be with us by the end of August so have a look at our 2016 rose catalogue so you can plan your planting. Get in quick to avoid disappointment as once a variety is sold we may not be able to restock.

Click here for the catalogue >>>>>>> Rose catalogue 2016 <<<<<<<<<

Corokia / Korokio

Corokia, otherly known as the wire netting bush, are understated steadfast little shrubs. They can quite often be looked over for their large glossy leaved neighbours. From Autumn however Corokia really start to sparkle. Look out now for Corokia saturated with shiny red or yellow berries that will be luring native birds for a feast. The hardiest of the Corokia, Corokia cotoneaster, can be seen growing wild throughout the hillsides of Central Otago where they enjoy the sun and well draining alkaline soil. This evergreen shrub weathers the grueling winds, bitter frosts and lack of rain like a champion but will curl its toes up if sitting in too much moisture.

native-flora-for-march-queenstown-blog-2

Corokia are a beautiful feature in the winter garden, their twiggy frosted appearance reflect the icy landscape they inhabit. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a naturalised hillside at home, Corokia will be happy anywhere with sun and good drainage. They also make fantastic smaller clipped hedges that you could use to line a driveway or use at the back of a smaller border. The bronze coloured Corokia ‘Frosted Chocolate’ makes a bold contrast against other garden plants and flowers. For those bold enough you can even effectively Bonsai them. Spare a thought for the Corokia, helping our fellow birds through the winter to come.

Closed on Anzac Day

For all the gardeners wishing to make the most of the public holiday in the garden. Unfortunately we will be closed on Anzac day, Monday the 25th. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. You can bet the team be in our gardens catching up from the busy summer.

What to do in April

The colours of autumn are starting to appear now alongside the autumn frosts. April is a wonderful month of warm days and cool nights that make gardening a little bit easier. It’s time to turn from summer and look toward the coming winter.

Ornamentals:

Many bulbs are being planted but April has been warm so far. A rise in temperature will signal bulbs to flower. This can easily happen in the variable Queenstown weather, causing bulbs to flower in autumn rather than spring. To stop this, plant them at the correct depth: tulips 10cm, daffodils 15cm (depending on size of species) and crocuses about 5cm. It also depends where you are planting, if you are now getting some regular frosts in that area bulbs will be fine to plant, but if you’re in a warmer area like Kelvin Heights it may be better to wait until the end of April / start of May. Bulbs will not need to be put in the fridge either as Queenstown is its own fridge.

tulip-975975_960_720

Lift or cover Dahlias after frost has damaged the top of the plant. Most dahlia tubers will die if frosted, sometimes this doesn’t happen if the ground doesn’t freeze deep enough. However some areas do, so to stop the frost reaching them you can cover them with straw or a bundle of frost fleece. If you really don’t want to risk it you can dig them up, dry them out and then plant again in spring.

Improve soil conditions by adding sheep pellets or well rotted manure. The pellets and manure will break down gradually over winter making it ready for plant use in spring.

Overgrown perennials can be lifted and divided. There’s nothing better than free plants! This can’t be done with all plants, so if in doubt do a little google first.

images (1)

Veggies and fruit:

Garlic can be planted at the end of the month but we’ll tell you more in May.

Raspberries that are fruiting now will usually be autumn fruiting raspberries. Autumn fruiting raspberries can be pruned after fruiting into winter. They crop on new years growth so prune canes back to the ground. If you have a double cropping variety like ‘Aspiring’ then prune to a non – fruiting leaf as these will grow into your summer crop, prune out all older canes.

Wild_raspberries_close-up.jpg

Take hardwood cuttings of fruit bushes to increase your stock, potentially replacing older plants.

Keep harvesting your carrots and beetroot.

Not many plants will be worth germinating from seed now, except microgreens and sprouts. You can still plant many seedlings for a crop in winter or spring.

Lawn:

If your lawn was used frequently over summer or you have moss trying to over take then you should aerate. Do this by making 15cm holes in your lawn with your fork every 30cm, then top dress and fill the holes with a mix of compost and sand. If your soil is sandy make a mix that is predominantly compost. On the other hand if your soil is clay add more sand than compost.

Also hold off on that high nitrogen fertiliser going into winter (which is most lawn fertilisers). A feed high in potassium is better for stronger root growth and plant health. Grass is still a plant after all. Use sulphate of potash or kelp meal instead. Why not use your usual fert? High nitrogen fertilisers encourage quick soft growth, this soft growth is very susceptible to fungus which is more common in the wetter autumn weather. You’ll also only end up mowing more anyway. An added benefit of applying a potash feed is that you’ll make your grass more drought tolerant, which is essential for summer.

General maintenance:

Keep collecting fallen leaves from lawns, paths, drives and anywhere they’re not wanted. Remember, those leaves are the trees food source and a favourite for worms. So compost them!! If you really can’t leave them around the base of trees as a mulch and feed then make sure you give the trees a top dress with a rich compost, preferably home made. If you’ve just planted your trees then make sure you leave the base clear so you can top dress. Sowing a lawn around a young tree will make competition for the tree, if the tree doesn’t get enough nutrients each year it will slowly decline and find it difficult to defend against pests and diseases.

download

Clean all your bird feeders and bird boxes. This is important to avoid the spread of disease.

Easter Weekend Sale

Make the most of the long Easter weekend and get into the garden. We’re celebrating Easter and the start of Autumn by having a sale all Easter weekend. Not to mention it’s our second year anniversary under new ownership! Come see the team and grab a bargain.

Easter weekend opening hours:

Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday open, 10am – 4pm

Saturday 26th open, 9am – 5pm.

 

Seed swap

We will be hosting a seed swap come September. We’re letting you know now so you have plenty of time to harvest those seeds of your prize winning pumpkin. Never heard of a seed swap? The clue’s in the name.

A seed swap is an event where people can swap seeds they have collected or have stored at the back of the cupboard. It is an opportunity for the community to come together, exchange knowledge and develop much needed bio-diversity.

What’s so good about a seed swap?

First of all, it’s free! If you’ve got seeds that is. Second, you get to talk to lot’s of lovely gardeners who understand how frustrating growing things can be and can swap tips to get the best tasting crops around. Third, you expand the biodiversity by continuing seeds that may not be commercially available in the country. Also if you collect seed locally over plant generations you will have plants that are more adapted to the local climate. You could even get plants that are unique to the area. Those are just a few examples.

What do you need to do to get involved?

Collect seeds! Of course. When collecting seeds make sure that they are dry and stored in a paper bag or glass jar. Label them with their age, what they are and a few tips on growing. You could also add where you collected them from, or if they are organic.

What will happen?

Come to the garden centre and donate your seed at the seed swap desk where it will be checked for label and seed quality. You will be given a sticker indicating if you’ve been a busy seed collector or not. You can still come if you haven’t collected lots or any seed just give a small coin donation. Once you’ve donated your seed, get swapping and chatting to your fellow gardeners. Any seeds left at the end will be donated to a local charity, school or organisation.

If you have lot’s of seed to swap and would like to have a table so you sit and chat to your fellow swappers let us know.

Dates are still to be confirmed until nearer the time and details are subject to change. If you have any questions or would like to get involved contact us at info@shotovergardencentre.co.nz

What to do in March

It’s planting time again! March brings cooler weather and rains, making it a great opportunity to get your garden planted before winter. Natives and evergreens need time to get established in the garden well before winter, whereas deciduous plants will be fine planted through winter – so long as the soil is well drained and workable. If you haven’t already, start preparing the veggie garden for winter and spring.

Flower Garden:

Bulbs are becoming available this month, but hold off planting them until temperatures have consistently dropped. The variability of the temperatures in Queenstown differ so much that it can cause bulbs to flower now instead of in spring.

IMGP3895

Cold loving flowering plants can be planted now to give you flowers from autumn to spring. My favourites are violas, which are good performers in many conditions and just keep flowering. More flowers will be available as the cold weather really starts to set in.

Give roses a bit of a trim if they are tall and getting blown around in strong winds, this will reduce the risk of root rock. Root rock can happen if force on the top of a plant is strong enough to move and even break plant roots, it can kill plants.

Many flower seeds can be sown and collected now. Go exploring with a pen and a paper bag, give seedheads a shake into your hand if seeds fall freely they are ready to be collected. Shake them into the bag or take the whole seedhead, label and store in a cool, dry place. Depending on what they are lots of seeds can be sown directly, like Aquilegias, salvia and other hardy perennials.

Sweet peas can also be sown, but they will need to be stored in a cold frame over winter.

Lawns:

Get on and repair the patches in the lawn after a hard summer or sow a new one. It’s still warm enough to sow all types of lawn seed. You can still throw on a bit of lawn fertiliser but only a short lasting one such as the Shotover Lawn fertiliser. Even better give a topdress of rooster booster or dynamic lifter lawn food.

If you have had problems with grass grubs or you have patches spreading over your lawn, you may need to distribute some of Kiwicares Lawngard Granules.

Maintenance:

Inspect plants planted earlier in the year to make sure they are still happy and healthy. You may need to adjust stakes or ties that are cutting into the plant.

circular_wire_leafbin-jpg

Get ready for collecting those glorious autumn leaves to turn into leaf mulch. Use stakes and chicken wire to make a bin to hold the leaves which will compost down to leaf mulch. Leaf fall is a trees way of feeding itself. This is why it’s important to leave a layer of leaves underneath trees. However you can collect all those leaves that go astray onto paths and lawns, compost them and distribute as a nutrient rich topdressing the following year. You can also fill bags of hessian with leaves and then leave them tucked away in the garden somewhere. The leaves will compost inside them.

Fruit Garden:

Harvest apples and pears as they ripen, depending on variety some may be suitable to store all through winter. Leave windfall apples for the wildlife, they love apples and pears too but be careful of cats.

If you haven’t already, give the trees a potassium feed. It will top up used reserves of potassium and make them hardier to winter. Use a fish or seaweed fertiliser, like Seasol or kelp meal. You could even get adventurous and make a comfrey tea for free! (If you have comfrey).

Veggie garden:

Keep an eye on frosts as they’ll start sneaking up on us now. You may want to give your tomatoes and summer crops a cover to extend their season. Keep giving them potassium feed to keep them going until the very end.

Think about bringing in any tender herbs like lemongrass or basil to extend the season. Keep freezing and drying herbs for use through winter.

Lots of seedlings can be planted now for autumn and spring harvesting, especially if you missed the chance to sow them.  Plant spinach, pak choi and kale now for winter harvesting. Use cloche hoops to grow rocket, lettuce and silverbeet. Broccoli, cabbages and cauliflowers will be ready in spring if planted now.

WINTERVEG_3060175b

You can still sow several types of seed. Sow; small rooted carrots, radish, pak choi, bok choi, cabbage, lettuce, salad leaves, turnip, broad beans.

There is still time to sow green manure if you have finished with a veggie bed for winter. You can sow, blue lupins, mustard, wheat, oats, peas or a mix. Green manure keeps the weeds at bay by out-competing them over winter, and you can dig them into the bed for added organic matter. They also add lots of nutrients back into the soil when they decompose. We have large bags of green manure seed available.