Sunday, 3 January 2010

Grasshoppers vs Neem Oil

Sydney Garden Talk on 2RRR 88.5 fm, Saturdays 12 noon-1pm
Todays Show:
Crickets, grasshoppers, kaydids and locusts are a group of insects that have strong chewing mouthparts designed for chewing leaves, and they have extra large hind-legs designed for jumping.
There are two types of grasshopper.

Short Horned Grasshopper & Locust s belong to one group called the Acrididae Family.
Antennae are short, horn shaped & half the body length. Length is from 1/2 to 3 1/8 inch long. They feed on all crops and are active during the day. Eggs are laid below the soil surface.
The other type is the…
Long horned Grasshopper & Katydid belong to the Tettigoniidae Family.
Antennae are quite long, bodies are from 1/2 to 3 inch in length.
Hoppers range from dark brown to shades of green Katydids are generally green.
Eggs are laid inside plant tissue. They feed on tree and shrub foliage. These hoppers are mainly nocturnal.

Controlling Grasshoppers
Plant barrier plants like Horehound (Marrubium vulgare, Cilantro, Calendula), netting your crops, catching them early in the morning,
Small traps can be made out of jars or buckets filled with water and a 10% molasses solution, cover with a film of canola oil to deter bees and mosquitoes. Bury the containers up to their rim in the soil; clean and renew the bait as needed.
Insecticidal potassium soap sprays work best on small grasshoppers.
Make up a garlic or chilli spray as a repellent.

Neem Oil:
Neem Oil: Made from the seed of the Neem (azadirachta indica) tree, a shade tree native to India. The active compound azadractin is extracted using water, alcohol or petroleum ether.
Neem has many different effects on insects. It acts as an insect antifeedant and repellant. It can stop or disrupt insect growth (IGR = insect growth regulator) and sterilizes some species.

Plant of the week: GARDENIA
Gardenias prefer regular substantial watering, but they also need moderately well-drained soils with plenty of organic materials worked in before planting. Equivalent to the Rhododendrons and Azaleas, the Gardenia does best in an acidic soil. The root system is shallow and sensitive, so a thick layer of mulch to control weeds is better than cultivating.
Yellow leaves
One of the most ask questions about Gardenias is the yellowing of older leaves in late winter and spring. This is usually a sign that the plant is moving its magnesium to the new growth. In the beginning of spring feed with Epsom Salts (Magnesium sulphate) will usually solve this problem.
To avoid getting other nutrients out of balance, only apply Epsom Salts no more than once a year.
Flower Problems
Watching plump flower buds drop or fail to open is no fun. Neither are blooms that yellow and brown prematurely. Most flowering problems are caused by poor cultural conditions like dry soil, poor drainage, extreme temperatures (hot and cold) and lack of light.
Fertilising:Gardenia plants require to be fed through spring, summer and autumn with Azalea & Camellia food.

What's On:
Hope you recycled that green Christmas tree into the green bin.
Visit For more tips on recycling.
January 2-3, 6-10, 13-17
Movies in The Overflow at Sydney Olympic Park is a FREE outdoor cinema series and one of the Park’s most popular summer entertainment events. The 2010 program will kick off on Saturday January 2 and will feature 11 films in addition to an array of international short films which will be screened in The Overflow (opposite ANZ Stadium).