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Codling Moth

Codling Moth is a particularly nasty pest affecting apple trees. It can also affect pears, quinces and crab-apples. You may only realise you have a problem for the first time, when upon biting into a lovely home grown apple you find either the grub or the remains of it’s burrowing!

In the past there have been sprays to control this pest but due to the stricter controls of strong chemicals they are no longer available, we much prefer to use a more natural approach anyway.

Lifecycle

Codling moths start as a grub that spend winter in the ground litter under the tree or under bark of trees particularly older trees. The moths pupate quickly in spring and emerge as either male or female moths. The males fly away to find a mate and the female crawl up the tree to higher branches. They often have difficulty flying. After mating the female lays her eggs on the twigs, leaves or young fruit of the tree. As soon as the eggs hatch the grubs burrow immediately into the fruit. They feed there until they reach maturity and then drop out of the fruit back to the ground to start the cycle all over again. There can be three generations in a season. Grubbs that fall later in the season will be the ones that hide over winter for the next season.

Prevention

Prevention can be done in a number of ways, and a combination of all is best.

Keep the ground and lower trunk clear of debris, fallen leaves and twigs. Use a straw mulch rather than a bark mulch. This all helps to stop grubs from finding a home to pupae in. Collected debris should be put in the rubbish and not composted. Keep this up all year.

Hang codling moth traps in the tree. These traps have a pheromone lure that attracts male moths and catches them with a sticky trap that they land on. This prevents them from mating. One lure can be enough for three trees located together. This should be done from mid spring to late May.

Use sticky trap bands on the trunk and upper branches to stop movement of female moths to the areas of the tree that carry the fruit. This prevents them from mating and/or laying eggs on or near the fruit. This should also be done from mid spring to late May.

The rewards

Each year you will find that you have less fruit that are damaged by Codling moth grubs. The key is to employ all the preventative measures for best results.
Products to use:

Go Natural Tree Guard
On-Guard Fruit Tree Grease Band
Ryset Delta Sticky Trap
Ryset Codling Moth Lures

Today I learnt that water can go up hill.

As part of our Winter Workshops Series we invited Garry from Munash to talk on the use of Rock Dust in our gardens.

Rock Dust, he told us, is made by crushing basalt and granite rocks that are 190 million years old and combining it with a secret organic activator. These rocks were formed at the time of the dinosaurs, the early Jurassic period, when there was a lot of volcanic activity. It is around this time a lot of our soils were created and have been degrading and eroding ever since.

Rock Dust brings soils back to a balanced state more like they were when first laid down.

Evidence of what these balance soils were like can be found in the untouched forested areas around the world. In these areas grow some of the best plant life around the globe.

Rock Dust can bring this balance to your garden.

Why do we want balanced soils in our gardens?

In a balanced garden, all the organic matter and minerals are made available to the plant life growing there. The result is the plants grow in a healthy and robust way.In an unbalanced soil the existing minerals can be locked up in the soil where the plants can’t access them. The plants growing in these soils not only suffer from varying mineral deficiencies but also are less robust and therefore more prone to be affected by pests and diseases.

One of Garry’s clients is a commercial rose grower and since they have been using Rock Dust they have been growing fantastic roses that have been free of black spot and powdery mildew.

And how does water go up hill?

While the ingredients in Rock Dust are particularly good at balancing soils, there is another benefit. These soils become more organic and hold moisture better and over a longer time.Moisture can move freely throughout the soil profile when soils are healthy. Which can reduce need towater as often as we do.

Try this experiment.

Open a tub of Rock Dust and place a line of the contents on the lid.

Tip the lid so that one end of the line of rock dust is higher than the other. Dribble a little water toward the lower end of the lid.

Watch

You should be able to see the water being drawn up through the dust. If you leave it for 24hrs the water will be at the top and the bottom will be dry.

The more I hear about the benefits of using Rock Dust the more I like it.

In fact I am already using it in my garden.

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