Questions, answers and jobs for the coming week

A healthy plum tree
A healthy plum tree
Dahlias - one of the boldest plants you can grow .

GARDENING: Brian Kidd is planning for summer with dahlias

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Brian answers readers’ horticultural questions

Could you tell me what’s wrong with my viburnum. It has spots on the leaves which are too small. JR, Copnor.

It has a fungal problem called leaf spot. This can be cured with a fungicide spray. Use Roseclear if you have it. If not, buy Bordeaux Mixture and spray the foliage. It also needs a good feed. Use Vitax Q4 pelleted fertiliser or blood fish and bone. This will transform the shrub. Water well afterwards.

Can you tell me what is wrong with our Victoria plum tree. The leaves are tiny, it has never fruited and there is rust on the backs of the leaves. KPT, Gosport.

I think the original tree died and you only have the stock left. This is because the leaves are only a quarter the size of plum tree leaves (pictured). See if you can find where the tree was grafted. If it’s a sucker dig it out and buy a new tree. Go to a good grower and choose one. Don’t rely on mail order. If it isn’t a sucker, spray the branches with Bordeaux powder dissolved in water and feed with blood, fish and bone forked into the soil and watered afterwards. Spray with Bordeaux once a month from April until September each year.

My fuchsias’ flower buds look like tiny cauliflowers. What would you advise? JEG, Southsea.

They have gall mites. Cut back hard and remove all infected wood. Get the prunings out of the garden. Spray the plants, the soil and fence behind with Plant Rescue For Ornamentals. If you can’t find it, dig out the fuchsias and grow something different.

The leaves on our pieris are turning brown and something is eating the leaves on our ccer. Can you help please? TF, Lovedean.

The pieris has become far too dry. Give it five gallons of Maxicrop Complete fertiliser applied very slowly. The maple is being attacked by earwigs at night. Put a sheet of newspaper in an upturned pot on a stick in the foliage and each morning kill the earwigs with a smart size 10 shoe.


Keep cutting the grass. If it’s too wet, drag a stiff broom behind you over the entire lawn. This makes the water droplets fall on to the soil and an hour later the grass is easier to cut.

If you intend treating wooden garden furniture with a preservative to restore it, choose the correct product. Ensure the wood is dry otherwise moisture is locked in.

Buy some fragrant long-stemmed exhibition sweet pea seeds ready to sow next month. They are more expensive, but if you love perfumed sweet peas it’s worth paying a bit more.

Try to trim hedges before the cold winds arrive. The good news is that this will be the last trim required this year. Hooray !

Keep mentioning that an electric hedge trimmer would be a good idea to your wife’s best friend and your wife might buy one for you for Christmas.

Take a lot more care about greenhouse watering. From now until spring, it’s best done in the morning. Take care not to splash it around as wet conditions encourage fungal problems.

If you are going to take geranium plants into the greenhouse to overwinter, cut them back hard and remove every leaf. Dust the cut ends with sulphur powder to prevent stem rots. This will enable you to store them closer together to save space.

In the greenhouse, plan to keep a small area warmer by dividing the greenhouse with bubbled polythene sheeting.

Try to get some more digging done. Bear in mind it is a good idea to complete the winter digging before Christmas. I wish I could.