Brian Kidd answers your gardening queries

Bay tree.
Bay tree.
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Mystery shrubs and weedkillers. 

Q: I enclose a sample of an evergreen shrub. I don’t know the name but it’s been damaged by pests. I’ve sprayed with no improvement. FSF, Denmead.

A: It’s a bay tree, a haven for many harmless insects. Don’t spray with a chemical as the leaves are used in cooking. Prune all infected shoots. New ones will appear making the shrub look good. The sawn edges are caused by earwigs. Push newspaper into an upturned pot. Earwigs will go into the paper and each morning you can squash them.

Q: Can you recommend a weedkiller to control this weed in my garden? SM, Gosport.

A: It’s oxalis and very intrusive. Use Roundup and spray the foliage. Hold a piece of cardboard alongside plants you want to survive and continue moving the card as work proceeds. In spring, when you see new weeds, spray again. Eventually you will eradicate it. 

Q: I have just got an allotment – hurrah! I would like to get a good book about veg growing. What would you recommend? JG, Bedhampton.

A: The best ever series of books about vegetable growing is called The Vegetable Garden Displayed, published by RHS Wisley. This book is a good read but you can dip in here and there to find out exactly what you need to know.

Got a question for Brian? click here and fire away.