Brian answers readers’ horticultural questions
Q: I put some strawberry plant runners in little pots on my allotment last summer and was pleased the pots were full of roots and I started to put the new plants in two rows. I found white grubs about half an inch long in two of the pots but killed the grubs. Can you tell me what they could be please? O G Clanfield
A: These grubs are vine weevil grubs and they were eating the roots of your strawberry plants. You did the right thing when you squashed them. If you find one or two of the plants collapse during next summer, fork the effected plants out of the soil and kill the grubs.
Q: I have found some of the tips of my apple trees have shriveled, sample enclosed in dry paper. Can you tell me what has caused this problem and the best treatment please? H D Rowlands Castle
A: Thank you for sending the sample in dry newspaper. This problem is called apple canker. Cut out the infected wood and seal every cut with Medo using a small paint brush. It would be a good idea to spray the tree with copper fungicide, you will find this is green drums.
Q: I have used up the last of my Cheshunt mixture which I have always used to prevent damping off disease in pots of seedlings. I know it has been banned but is there an alternative? J D Drayton
A: You will find drums of copper fungicide, as mentioned above. Use two level teaspoons of this product to 1l of clean water and allow the seed pan to soak up the solution by placing the seed tray in a tray of the solution and leave the pan in the solution for about 10 minutes.
Q: I have lost the instructions on my Codlin moth trap. What should I do please? P D Cosham
A: Simply buy a new Codlin moth trap refill from your garden centre and put the replacement pellet and sticky card into your hanging trap. Other readers may wonder what we are talking about. Codlin moth maggots are often seen in apples. Buy a Codlin moth trap and there will be far fewer maggots in the apples. Simply follow the instructions and hang it up in an apple tree.
WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK...
Things are growing rapidly, a quick job is to remove all the dead flower heads from the daffodils, just take off the dead flowers and seed heads but leave the flower stem. This will make the bulbs become aware that they are no longer able to produce seeds and a hormonal reaction takes place in the bulb.
Dig out some rooted strawberry runner plants out from the strawberry bed, take off the dead foliage and pot them into 5cm-diameter pots in John Innes number three compost - it’s the only one suitable for this job. Pot them up and put them into the cold greenhouse and you will be picking strawberries during mid-May.
Have you managed to prune the HT and Floribunda roses yet? Cut them back hard remembering the harder you prune them the more they grow, the more they grow, the more flowers are produced but they must have a feed after pruning.
This is the time to sow seeds of early Brussels sprouts and summer cabbages.
Last year’s fuchsia plants which have been wintered in the greenhouse have now started to grow. Take them out of the pots, remove all the old compost, cut them back hard and pot them into fresh compost and water afterwards, if you do this, they will grow like mad.