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The Star: April 20, 2017

34 Thursday

34 Thursday April 20 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi The Star Gardening What to grow near fruit trees The fascinating world of companion plants is one to explore. Rebecca Lees writes about how they can give your fruit trees a boost PEACH COMRADE: Tansy planted with ‘blackboy’ peach tree. Tansy deters a raft of harmful flying insects and is an excellent companion for the fruit garden. COMPANION PLANTING is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in the fruit garden, especially if you begin with a blank canvas. Thanks to the interplanting of a host of companion plants under and around fruit trees, dull lifeless soil over time becomes full of organic matter, and alive with beneficial creatures crawling amongst it. The soil, now more fertile and robust, can aid the trees’ growth and access to nutrients, as well as increase the ability for the trees (and wider garden area) to keep pests and disease in check. Companions aren’t a magic wand, there are plenty of other tasks a gardener undertakes to ensure fruit trees are healthy and productive, but they’re a great tool and one I’ll never go without. How does it work? Companion plants can: •Lure pests to them and in turn help keep those pests away from other susceptible plants. •Confuse pests by disturbing the visual and chemical attributes that help pests find host plants. •Attract predatory insects, which then naturally lower the pest count in your garden. Keep an eye out If you’re particularly observant you may witness companions working their magic. You may notice ladybirds, a predatory insect; FRUIT FRIEND: Stinging nettle attracts ladybirds, which eat aphids. or spot a praying mantis leaping out, catching and devouring a white butterfly. As your companion plants become established, it’s really exciting to see these things unfold in your garden. Bees Planting to encourage bees and other pollinators into the garden helps with fruit-tree pollination. Try to plant those which flower around the same time your fruit trees blossom. Some plants bees enjoy (which also benefit the fruit garden) include borage, rosemary, lemon balm, basil, coriander, thyme and lavender. Comfrey An outstanding companion plant for fruit trees, comfrey brings up nutrients from deep down in the subsoil and releases them as the leaves die back. I plant it around all my fruit trees. It will grow from a tiny piece of root – making it easy to propagate, but difficult to get rid of once you have it. Phacelia I sprinkle phacelia seeds wherever there is a space in my garden. The flowers are rich in nectar, and the plant helps boost populations of predatory insects. Don’t plant grass Many orchard floors are covered in grass, with fruit trees, of all the same type, neatly planted in straight rows. This may seem pleasing to the eye, but it is a field day for pests, and can make it difficult for fruit trees to grow well. Couch grass, for instance, releases a growth inhibitor via its roots, and this can slow or even stunt the growth of many fruit trees. When you must plant grass Mix things up a bit to add diversity and other benefits. You could include nitrogen-fixing clovers, lucerne, dandelions, mustard, and allow nettles to grow also. Stinging nettle allowed to grow around fruit trees helps with fruit tree health in many ways, including being a host to predatory insects. To attract predators There are many plants which attracts predators to the garden, some to try include: Flowering parsnips, fennel, carraway, hyssop, lemon balm and dill. Let all of these plants flower. black foRRest baRk Finally, we have sourced a true BLACK Bark. black forrest bark is unlike any other product currently available on the market and is exclusive to Parkhouse Garden supplies. this is genuine bark dyed with a colourant that is non-hazardous, making black forrest bark completely safe for shrubs, plants, pets and children. our commitment to the environment also means our colourants are free from harmful toxins. It is exciting to offer our customers a product that weathers better than anything we have tested in the market. It genuinely looks amazing. come and see for yourself. Free gift with purchase. $35 .95 per scoop $12 .00 per bag $107 .85 per metre Landscape Lane (off Lunns Rd) P. 348 2915 OPEN 7 DAYS Remember... we are NOT in Parkhouse Road NO GREEN WASTE IN ANY OF OUR COMPOST

The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday April 20 2017 35 Companions for fruit trees Diversity is the key to increasing disease resistance and pest control in the fruit garden. By including these companion plants, you’ll add diversity above and below ground Apples Keep grass away from apples and don’t plant potatoes nearby. Plant chives as they can inhibit the formation of apple scab. Comfrey should always be planted around apples. Other companions: Garlic, mint family, ajuga, foxgloves, wallflowers, nasturtiums, marjoram. Apricot Keep tomato plants away from apricot trees. Companions: Tansy and southernwood. Avocados Lavender, thyme, stinging nettles, comfrey, scented geraniums. Cherries Lavender, tansy, majoram, rosemary, catnip, curry plant. AUTUMN GARDEN SHOW SATURDAY & SUNDAY 29 & 30 APRIL 10AM-5PM Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre & Marquee Plant & produce for sale, horticulture discussion, free entry FROM LEFT Marjoram (left) is a good friend of cherries and feijoa; chives can help prevent apple scab; garlic (below) can be planted to help nectarines. Citrus Guava, lavender, catnip, wallflower, phacelia. Feijoa Applemint, feverfew, catmint, alyssum, marjoram, and thyme. Nashi Wallflower, stinging nettle, foxgloves. Nectarine Lavender, garlic, tansy, strawberries, chamomile, tarragon, horseradish. Peach Lavender, garlic, tansy, strawberries, chamomile, tarragon, horseradish, basil, southernwood. Pears Keep grass well away from pear trees. Companions: Stinging nettle, tansy, catmint, sage, comfrey. Persimmons Garlic, marjoram, chives, mint, tansy, sage, comfrey, catmint. Plums Catmint, stinging nettle, tansy, wormwood, garlic and chives. 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