As I sit in my chair knitting some little hats for the Age UK Big Knit this year my thoughts are distracted by the prospect of summer. I can enjoy a walk in the warm sunshine to see my borders bursting into life with lupins, hydrangea and my bedding plants.
Jobs in the garden during the summer time include dead-heading to keep your flowers producing more blooms, feeding, watering and weeding. Autumn flowering bulbs can be planted in mid-summer (August) and the lawn needs to be mown regularly (but not too short, especially in dry periods). Staking of perennials will help to support their stems and keep them in good health.
Mr T from Biggleswade contacted me after my article in the Spring issue of VOICE to say the following: ‘When clearing out an old, large container I found several round, hard balls in the compost which looked like fertiliser granules. I know that I didn’t put any fertiliser in this container and I made sure that the compost was only peat-free. Do you know what these could be?’
I would suggest that they are the eggs of vine weevils (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) whose larvae are found in the soil of containers. The adult weevils lay their eggs in the container and the larvae hatch out and eat the roots of the plants. The larvae are white, have no legs and have brown heads (like plump maggots). They feed from late summer to mid-spring on roots, corms and tubers and love plants that grow in containers. Key signs of vine weevil are plants which look sickly and are struggling to grow as they cannot grow sufficient roots to ensure that they can develop with the nutrients they need. Plants will eventually die if an infestation is severe. Indoor, outdoor and even plants in the garden can be affected.
The adult vine weevils leave irregular notches in the leaves of plants, especially those close to the ground. Piles of dead leaves can encourage vine weevils as the adults like to live amongst dead foliage on the ground. Control can be via products available in garden centres including pesticides and nemotodes. You can also keep an eye out for the adults by searching for them in torchlight and removing them.
I hope that this helps you Mr T; I quite like the adult vine weevils with their slender shape and long antennae but I don’t like what they do to my plants!
Next time we will look towards the autumn season.
If you have any gardening questions please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature some of your questions with answers in our next newsletter. Please note that we cannot answer all questions.