TASTY EATING: Juicy Dragon Fruits - exotic fruits from Vietnam that can be grown in Queensland.
TASTY EATING: Juicy Dragon Fruits - exotic fruits from Vietnam that can be grown in Queensland. Danntbt

Top gardening tips for October

THE middle of spring is yet another wonderful time for gardeners. Plants are smothered in fresh foliage and flowers, many fruit trees show the promise of their summer harvest and the veggie patch is humming. Happy gardening everyone!

Beautiful blueberries

IF home grown, freshly picked blueberries sound tempting, then it's time to find a spot at your place for a blueberry bush or two.

Blueberries generally prefer warm days and cool nights however there are now varieties available to suit a range of climates (including warmer areas) such as Blueberry Burst.

Blueberries prefer an acidic, well drained soil. In areas with alkaline soil (a pH higher than 7), applications of Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur every month will help lower the soil pH. Some blueberries can also be grown in pots. Choose good quality potting mix such as Yates Premium Potting Mix and a large pot to give them enough room to grow.

Blueberries will benefit from regular applications of a complete plant food during spring.

Yates Thrive Strawberry & Berry Fruit Liquid Plant Food is ideal for blueberries as it's fortified with extra potassium to encourage fruiting.

Spring citrus care

Citrus trees have a shallow root system which can be prone to drying out. As citrus trees are flowering and setting their new crop of fruit during spring, it's important not to let citrus dry out as trees can drop their fruit if drought stressed.

Soil which is rich in organic matter is better able to retain moisture. Regularly applying Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food around the root zone of citrus will help increase the soil's organic matter content and its ability to store moisture. After applying Yates Dynamic Lifter, adding a layer of organic mulch around the roots will also help to reduce moisture loss and as it breaks down will add further important organic matter to the soil.

A key pest of citrus during spring is Bronze Orange Bug (or BOB as we like to call him).

BOB, sometimes referred to as a stink bug, is an insect pest that sucks the sap from new leaves and fruit stalks, causing leaves to wilt and die and developing fruit to fall from the tree.

Bronze Orange Bugs start as small green bugs, changing to bright orange as they age and mature to large dark brown bugs.

The only spray registered in Australia for control of Bronze Orange bugs on edible citrus is Yates Nature's Way Citrus and Ornamental Spray. Approved for use in organic gardens it's based on natural pyrethrin and vegetable oil and is a very effective contact spray for bronze orange bugs. The dual setting trigger applicator on Yates Nature's Way Citrus and Ornamental Spray allows a wide spray pattern as well as a thin stream, which is ideal for targeting individual bronze orange bugs.

A word of caution with Bronze Orange Bugs is that they can squirt out a nasty, foul smelling orange liquid which can damage your eyes and skin, so it's best to wear eye protection and long sleeves when spraying for BOB.

Feeding tip: it's important to keep citrus well fed during spring, as they are working hard growing their new fruit. Yates Thrive® Citrus Liquid Plant Food contains a complete and balanced meal for citrus, helping to promote healthy green leaves and a great harvest.

Fruit Fly Control

As fruit like nectarines, peaches, apricots, avocados, guavas, mango and papaya are developing, now is the time to start baiting for fruit fly. Queensland and Mediterranean female fruit flies make a small hole in fruit and lay their eggs. These eggs hatch into maggots which ruin fruit.

Together with good garden hygiene (which includes removing fallen fruit from the ground and destroying any fruit fly affected fruit) home gardeners can help protect their crops from fruit fly by baiting with Yates Nature's Way Fruit Fly Control. It contains a protein and sugar bait which fruit flies can detect from several metres away and spinosad, an insecticide derived from naturally occurring soil bacteria which kills fruit flies.

The product should be applied as a band or spot spray onto the trunk or lower foliage of trees or plants while the fruit are still small and before they have changed colour. There is no need to spray the actual fruit. It's important to re-spray the plants each week (or sooner if there has been rain) to maintain effective protection.

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