What Are Crane Flies and Are They Harmful?

Crane flies (Family Tipulidae) look like giant mosquitoes, being up to 3cm (1-1/4″) in length, with a long slender abdomen, very long thin legs, narrow wings, and long antennas with multiple segments per stalk. They can be brown, green or white in colour. They’re sometimes called ‘Daddy long-legs’, a name more commonly used to refer toContinue reading “What Are Crane Flies and Are They Harmful?”

The Best Ways to Trap Rats and Mice That Really Work

Non-native, feral rodents, such as the Black Rat, aka Roof Rat (Rattus rattus), Brown Rat, aka Ship Rat or Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) and House Mouse (Mus musculus) are destructive pests that can cause considerable damage to a home and garden if they’re not controlled. Inside the home they may spoil and contaminate food, physicallyContinue reading “The Best Ways to Trap Rats and Mice That Really Work”

How To Tell If You Have Rats and Mice in Your Home or Garden

How do you know if you have rats or mice, or some other pest problem? Correct pest identification is important for deciding on an appropriate course of action. Visual identification is not easy because rats and mice are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. Checking for them after dark with the aid ofContinue reading “How To Tell If You Have Rats and Mice in Your Home or Garden”

Will Queensland Fruit Fly Traps Attract More Pests Into My Garden?

Despite the unfounded concerns of some gardeners, setting up Queensland fruit fly traps will not attract more of the harmful female pests into your garden. These traps do work effectively to reduce the numbers of the pest already there, and are best installed at the start of spring (September), before fruit and vegetables develop. TheseContinue reading “Will Queensland Fruit Fly Traps Attract More Pests Into My Garden?”

What Is Overpotting and Why Is It Bad for Your Plants?

Overpotting is a term used to describe the negative effects on plant health when a plant is grown in a pot that is way too big for it. While it might seem like a good idea to give a plant plenty of future growing space, the mismatch between the size of the plant and theContinue reading “What Is Overpotting and Why Is It Bad for Your Plants?”

Burr Knots, What Are the Root-Like Growths on Apple Trees Trunks and Branches?

Burr knots (burrs or burls) are masses of small root initials, plant cells that are dividing and transforming into root tips, which appears on the above-ground portion of a rootstock, or on the trunk and limbs of apple trees. This is an inherited disorder where root-producing structures develop on aerial parts of certain apple trees.Continue reading “Burr Knots, What Are the Root-Like Growths on Apple Trees Trunks and Branches?”

Why Are My Tomatoes Cracking and Splitting?

Fruit cracking is a common problem in tomatoes when there is a wide fluctuation in soil moisture levels, which leads to inconsistent water content within the plant.  This is usually caused by huge temperature variations and/or inconsistent irrigation. The cracking or splitting of tomato fruit can take two forms: Both types of tomato cracking canContinue reading “Why Are My Tomatoes Cracking and Splitting?”

How To Make Safe and Effective Rat and Mouse Baits Using Baking Soda

Introduced, non-native, feral rodents, such as the Black Rat (Rattus rattus), Brown Rat, aka Ship Rat or Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) and House Mouse (Mus musculus) are serious pests that need to be controlled. The danger with using commercial poison baits to control rats and mice is that pets or native wildlife (mammals and birds)Continue reading “How To Make Safe and Effective Rat and Mouse Baits Using Baking Soda”

How to Make a Bottle Trap to Control European Wasps

The European wasp (Vespula germanica) is a social wasp that lives in large nest colonies. It’s native to Europe, North Africa and Asia, and has now spread throughout the world. In the US, these wasps are known as German yellowjackets. Why Are European Wasps Considered Pests? European wasps are a pest because they are anContinue reading “How to Make a Bottle Trap to Control European Wasps”

Why Are My Tomatoes Not Ripening?

Tomatoes require a sufficiently long growing season and suitable temperatures in order to ripen their fruit, otherwise the fruit may stay green and fail to ripen. When growing conditions are less than ideal, there are ways for gardeners to turn things in their favour, to ensure a successful tomato harvest at the end of theContinue reading “Why Are My Tomatoes Not Ripening?”

Which Indoor Plants Are Sensitive to Fluoride in Tap Water?

Some houseplants are sensitive to the fluoride that is added to municipal tap water for the purpose of preventing tooth decay in humans. The symptom of fluoride toxicity in plants is leaf necrosis (yellowing, then browning, leading to dead, scorched areas on the leaf), which appears mainly at the tips of the leaves and alongContinue reading “Which Indoor Plants Are Sensitive to Fluoride in Tap Water?”

How to Make a Queensland Fruit Fly Trap and Bait

One of the most damaging pests of fruit and vegetables in Australia is the Queensland fruit fly or Qfly (Bactrocera tryoni). To control this pest, you can make your own home made traps using empty clear plastic bottles, and also make the homemade bait lure liquid to put into them, as described in this article.Continue reading “How to Make a Queensland Fruit Fly Trap and Bait”

Why Are My Tomatoes Flowering But Not Setting Fruit?

It’s quite disappointing for gardeners when healthy and vigorous tomato plants,drop their flowers and fail to produce fruit after a good growing season. Tomato plants have what are described as complete flowers, they contain both the male and female parts within the same flower. The tomato flowers grow in downward hanging clusters that are pollinatedContinue reading “Why Are My Tomatoes Flowering But Not Setting Fruit?”

Why Indoor Plant Leaves Turn Yellow and Drop

When houseplant (indoor plant) leaves turn yellow, it’s usually one of the first symptoms indicating that the plant is stressed. If the conditions causing the plant stress are not alleviated, the yellow leaves may eventually turn brown and drop. Plant stress can be caused by a wide variety of issues, and can be categorised asContinue reading “Why Indoor Plant Leaves Turn Yellow and Drop”

How to Make Horticultural Oil Spray for Organic Pest Control

Horticultural oil, also known as white oil, is an easy and inexpensive pesticide to prepare at home from readily-available materials. It is used to control scale, aphids, mealy bug, citrus leaf miner, mites and caterpillars on roses, ornamentals, citrus and other fruit trees. The commercial white oil or horticultural oil insecticides sold in garden centresContinue reading “How to Make Horticultural Oil Spray for Organic Pest Control”

How to Protect Plants from Frost with Seaweed Extract

Many warm-season crops, such cantaloupe, capsicums, chillies, cucumbers, eggplants, lima beans, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, and watermelon, are native to subtropical climates, and are therefore very frost-sensitive. They prefer temperatures of 21°C (70°F) to 35°C (95°F), and need daytime temperatures above 15.5°C (60°F). A week of daytime temperatures below 12.5°C (55°F) may stunt their growth, andContinue reading “How to Protect Plants from Frost with Seaweed Extract”

The Best Way to Use Pest Animal Scent Repellents So They Don’t Wash Away

Odor repellent (scent repellent) products are an effective way of deterring unwanted pest animals from visiting the garden and causing damage. They either contain ingredients which pest animals find offensive and objectionable, or those that evoke an instinctive reaction of fear in pest animals, because they smell like predators, or the remnants of their work.Continue reading “The Best Way to Use Pest Animal Scent Repellents So They Don’t Wash Away”

What are the Brown Spots on Feijoa or Pineapple Guava Leaves?

The feijoa (Acca sellowiana), commonly known as pineapple guava, is an evergreen fruiting shrub or small tree from the Myrtaceae family, that is native to South America. It is widely grown in the subtropics and in warm temperate areas. This remarkably hardy plant is quite resistant to pests and diseases, heat-tolerant and moderately salt-tolerant, makingContinue reading “What are the Brown Spots on Feijoa or Pineapple Guava Leaves?”

Does Watering Plants on a Hot Sunny Day Scorch Their Leaves?

One common gardening myth is that watering plants on a hot, sunny day will scorch their leaves. Is this a fact or a fallacy? There appears to be no information published by university agricultural extension agencies, or in the horticulture literature, to support this idea. So, where does this idea come from? In the scientificContinue reading “Does Watering Plants on a Hot Sunny Day Scorch Their Leaves?”

How to Make a Simple Earwig Trap That Doesn’t Need Bait

European earwigs are usually considered to be garden pests, but they rarely damage leafy green vegetables. When they do, they leave many rough irregular holes with a shredded, jagged appearance in the leaves, much like snail and slug damage. They also chew leaves around the edges, similar to the damage caused by caterpillars. Before treatingContinue reading “How to Make a Simple Earwig Trap That Doesn’t Need Bait”