Autumn Pests

As Autumn approaches the pests start to multiply, being organic, the control of these pests has to be carefully controlled and only the use of certified methods can be adopted to control the pests.

The Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly is probably the main issue, they thrive on new growth and eat the new sprouts just as they form. I can control them with a combination of hand picking and BT. You can see the small white eggs in the picture below. There is also a pic of a small Citrus Caterpillar not on the plant. (Good!)

If they are controlled from the start, the population does not get too out of control and I can get away with two well timed sprays of BT.

Ants, Scale and mould are also an issue, not as prevallant, they still cause and issue. I have been trialling a tree guard made from some foam taped to the tree with some agricultural glue to act as as barrier. It seems to be working in stopping the ants climbing the tree and hoarding the scale.

Ripening Fruit

As late summer is upon us, the fruit is starting to change colour and taste sweeter (well sweet for a seriously sour fruit…) The turpentine and oily flavours are dissapearing and the last stage is near.

Hot, Dry…. then Rain

After an extremely dry spell and a total of 2.6mm of rain over January and a average maximum temp 3 degrees above normal, things where looking very dry. Prior to January 2009, I had only irrigated on 6 occasions over 18 months. During testing back in 05/06, the plants that performed best where ones that had two deep soakings a week in very hot conditions, as long as the soil was not waterlogged or didn’t completely dry out, there was nil adverse affects observed. Given the very small leaf structure of C.Australasica it is fairly hard to determine wilt. During this very hot dry period in January I was irrigating twice a weak.

The first week of February offered no releaf. Three consecutive days over 40 degrees makes even the hardiest of plants look like they are about to shrivel up and retreat underground. Suprisingly the tolerance of the C.Australasica surprised me, there was only the slightest leaf drop on a few plants, and overall no adverse affects, either they are hardier than I had thought or they had the right amount of subsoil moisture to be able to cope with the excess heat. Friday 13th February bought a significant change to the blocking High Pressure system that had caused the extreme heat, made a significant contribution the Vic Bushfires and kept the whole of SE Australia sweltering for weeks, we had a large low pressure form off the Fraser Coast in QLD, in conjunction with an upper level trough that intensified and brought some serious rain events to most of NSW, in total the rain event has produced 210mm here and 160mm in the last 24 hours. All our dams are now full, the tanks are full and we have rivers running through our paddocks.  The next two days look like more rain and possibly some flooding of the Hunter R.