Thursday, May 17, 2012

NZ Biosecurity Institute NETS2012 Registrartion Open

You can now register for NETS2012. The registration form and registration brochure are avaialable on the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute website.

The New Zealand Biosecurity Institute National Education and Technology Seminar (NETS) will be held at the Wairakei Resort Hotel 18th – 20th July 2012.

A pest controller walks into an antique store spies a large brass rat. He falls in love with it, and so he takes it to the counter.
“Interested in the rat, eh?” says the cashier.
“Um, yes … how much?” asks the customer.
“Well, five dollars for the rat–but 200 dollars for the story that goes with it” he replied.
“I’ll just take the rat, without the story.” Says the customer.
He leaves the store, his precious brass rat tucked under his arm. After a while he notices that a few rats are following him. He walks a few more steps and the number of rats behind him increased. This continued, until there were virtually thousands of rats following him.
Afraid, the man runs to the sea and throws the rat in. All of the rats plunged in after it, and met their watery deaths.
The man runs back to the antique store. The cashier was still chuckling to himself. “So now do you want the story?”
“No,” said the man, “but have you got any brass lawyers?”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Plan Your Autumn and Winter Garden Spraying

Don’t ignore your dormant garden in autumn or winter. It may look like nothing is happening in the garden but lurking among the leaf litter, bark, dead twigs and branches are the spores of diseases and the over-wintering eggs of insect pests. You can ensure your garden explodes with vital health in spring by taking a little time now to protect your trees and shrubs from these pests and diseases.
  • Clear up leaf litter and dead material on the ground. This can be disposed of in your organics bin, burned or composted, but if composting make sure the compost is not used for at least 6 months to ensure any disease spores and pest eggs are killed.

  • In frost free weather prune and destroy dead, damaged and diseased parts of trees and shrubs. Then protect them from disease and pests using winter protectants such as copper oxychloride, sulphur and spraying oil.

  • To protect from fungal disease and a range of pests spray your fruit trees, roses and ornamentals with sulphur; first after leaf fall and again in late winter before new growth appears. DO NOT mix sulphur products with other garden sprays.

  • In autumn, fruit trees benefit from a clean-up spray of copper sprays and spraying oils. This will control fungal spores and insect eggs that would over-winter on the trees and prevent fungal disease entering through damaged parts of the plants. Spray again after any pruning and throughout winter. Spray copper followed by spraying oil. Mixtures of copper and spraying oil can be used to save time but are less effective than separate sprays.

  • Winter clean-up sprays are best applied in still, dry, cool, dull weather, in late autumn and through winter.

  • Tender trees and shrubs should be protected from wind and frost. Move them into sheltered positions or wrap them in wind and frost protecting garden windbreak.

  • Care for your lawn. Rake up fallen leaves regularly. Do not allow leaves to build up on the lawn where they would prevent light reaching the grass, rotting and killing it underneath. Finish laying any new turf or re seeding you may want to do. Mow your lawn only if growth makes it necessary but set the blades at least 2cm higher than normal.

  • Your indoor plants will benefit from some attention in winter too. Move them away from cold draughts and adjust watering depending on whether they are in heated rooms. Most indoor plants prefer high humidity. In unheated rooms they will need less water but in heated rooms they may need more frequent watering and the drying conditions of heating mean the plants should be misted more often.

Winter gardens can be pleasant places to spend time and because you will have fewer pests and diseases to deal with in spring and summer the work done protecting your plants now will give you more time to enjoy your garden in warmer months.