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Cycas Revoluta

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The Cycas or Sago palm, cycadaceae, is a genus of about 15 species. This one, the C. revoluta is better known as the Japaneese sago palm.

These are another batch of plants I spotted in the Cape Garden Centre.

It is generally a very robust plant but with age it tends to begin to lean over, begin suckering and branching out. The leaves can grow to 1.5 metres long. And surprisingly, possibly, this fella only ever grows to a maximum of about 2 metres in height and width…. which kind of explains why I didn’t see any taller versions of it 😉   

The flowers are dioecious [carry both male and female flowering parts seperate]. The male parts [16″ long but up to 32″ long in other varieties] are cone like and pineapple scented whilst the female parts [8″ long but up to 30″ long] can appear as loose clusters of leaves but in C. revoluta appear as yellow fruits.

Personally I love them simply for their foliage.

      

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Peach Leaf Curl

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As a by the way…. just because its called peach leaf curl, it doesn’t mean it only affects peach trees. It will affect most Prunus related species.

Anyhow, I don’t like this one at all. It simply looks so ugly…. caused by the fungus Taphrina deformans [the second part of the name says it all…], it is spread by rain and wind where it will hibernate in stem cracks, scars or wounds and there is literally damn all one can do about it.

The leaves become distorted and bubble up like big ugly red blisters. En mass, it is pretty ugly to look at and I kind of feel sorry for the plant…. especially when all of the leaves fall off.

Whilst chemical control via any sort of fungicide will do the job… in my own garden I prefer to let nature do what it must and maybe from a biological control point of way I may get involved…. But the leaves do grow back and hopefully the plant will come good. But isn’t that what gardening is all about…

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Snails…

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Some may call the mollusc one of the greatest pests known to mankind the plant world. I’ll give them one thing…. they’re not the prettiest looking fellas on the planet.

Famed for eating anything thats green leafed, the damage they cause can often be confused with that of bird damage. The difference is birds will eat through the veins of the leaf where the snails mouth eating parts will not allow them eat anything greater than just the leaf matter. ie the damage they cause is considered interveinal only.

For controlling snails once must start at the very start and that is with good garden hygiene; ie. a good cleaning, pruning and removal of debris regularly from around plants. There is also the use of ‘slug pellets which burns the belly of the mollusc when they move across it. Personally I like to pick them up and throw them into the hens.

What I find facinating is the varied and so many methods of controlling snails I have heard on my travels…. from copper wire placed in a loop around the base of the plant to a cup of beer placed near, which I personally find an awful waste 😉

How do you do it….?

powdery mildew

powdery-mildew

powdery mildew

I noticed this white almost chalk like residue on my corkscew hazel the other day.

It is powdery mildew.

Caused by a variety of fungi  including Oidium, Uncinula & Sphaerotheca; the powdery chalk like residue sits on and clings to the top of the leaf.

It’s sister downey mildew clings to the underside of the leaf and is damp and fluffy to feel… So as not to confuse the 2, remember: powders could not sit on an underside [as simple as that sounds – to the non horticultural C.S.I. diagnostics team it is very important 😉 ].

Back to it…. One must remember that this is a fungal problem. And spores are spread by wind, rain or even plants rubbing together. Powdery mildew likes a dry site and fungi usually grow in areas where it has little chance of being disturbed. So, whilst it can be sprayed/ treated chemically… this will solve the immediate problem but, the chances are the disease will return as the conditions/ environment have not changed. My methodology is to remove all of the diseased material; then wait if possible ’til the off season and move the plant to less enclosed spot.

The reality is, one should also remember that this is not a bacterial disease of the plant so whilst photosynthesis is affected; and therefore fruit/ seed production – the disease is not as such detrimental to the plant.

Chemcal treatment is usually done via the use of a translocated/ systemic insecticide and fungicide mixed as most insects are disease vectors. Make sure [please] you have a seperate applicated sprayer to the one used for herbicide 😉 That said, I prefer working with nature where possible and would always first recommend the biological control first.

While I’m here… if you are spraying it can leave a white residue…. don’t confuse the two 🙂

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