Gardening News and articles

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Gardening Articles for week ending 18th August 2018

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Written by Wally Richards.

For some time now a family of neonicotinoids insecticides have been reputed to be harmful to honey bees, bumble bees and native bees.
Now Mitre10 stores has taken the great step of clearing the products that contain this harmful chemical from all their outlets as from 1st November this year.
In the mean time the products such as Yates Confidor and Yates Lawn Pest Control are reduced in price to clear before the November deadline.
I have written many times that these chemicals should not be allowed to be used in the home garden market as the residue in plants sprayed can last for months causing harm to bees later on when in flower.
For instance Confidor has a withholding period of 90 days for human consumption as stated in the Nova Chem Manual.
That is 3 months after young cabbages are sprayed with the chemical are deemed to be safe to eat. If those cabbages get stressed and go to seed/flower in that time they are deadly on pollinators such as honey bees.
Bees love the brassica flowers; I know as I often allow a plant or two go to seed. How long does it last in other plants? Weeks? Months? A trap for our pollinators in the home gardens that use this insidious poison.
Now it is time for other garden suppliers to follow the great example Mitre 10 has taken which includes all garden shops, Supermarkets, Farmlands, The Warehouse and Bunnings.
After hearing the news I posted the information on NZ Vege Gardeners Face Book page and within a day 10% of the 63,000 members had likes and commented.
Thats 630 odd gardeners that are please to see this harmful poison removed. When next in a Mitre 10 Thank the staff for being a true supporter of our environment and gardens.
Codlin Moths

Gardeners that have apple, pear and walnut trees that become infested each year with codlin moths should be setting up one or more Pheromone Codlin Moth traps in vicinity of their trees once the fruit has set. (Not in the tree as that attracts them to the tree)
Also spread Neem Tree Granules under the trees at this time as it helps confuse the moths by diquising the tree's smell.
The traps work on a scent lure, that attracts the male codlin moths to the sticky pad in the trap. This gives the gardener two advantages, firstly every male codlin moth caught reduces the number of males available to service the females.
If in theory all males were caught then the females would only be able to lay infertile eggs and thus there would be no codlin moth damage to the fruit.
Its not a perfect world so this is unlikely to happen, hence the second advantage.
By monitoring the traps every few days one can quickly see when there is a influx of males caught.
This indicates that the moths are on the wing and laying eggs on your fruit trees and you know it is a desirable time to spray.
Spray with Super Neem Tree Oil and add Raingard to the spray mix to give you 14 days protection. A further spray application should be made after 14 days or when the next influx of moths are noticed in the trap.
The Pheromone traps give you the right time to spray and saves you time and money spraying when there is no activity.
One trap will cover the trees in about a 10 metre range so for many gardeners one trap is all that is needed.
The traps have all the information on when to replace the lures and sticky pad and there are also refill kits available so you do not have to buy a full new kit every season.
Last season I had some very favourable reports on Neem Tree Oil sprays for controlling codlin moth damage. Trees were sprayed with the oil every 7 to 14 days while the moths were active and the young grubs were hatching out.
The only damage found at maturity was a small scar on the surface of the apples where the grubs had tried unsuccessfully to enter the apple prior to dying.
Thus it is important to ensure there is a film of Neem oil over the young apples during the period of activity. If the grub gets into the apple then its too late to prevent major damage.

Monsanto suffered a major blow with a jury ruling that the company was liable for a terminally ill man’s cancer, awarding him $289m in damages.
Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, won a huge victory in the landmark case on Friday, with the jury determining that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer and that the corporation failed to warn him of the health hazards from exposure.
The jury further found that Monsanto “acted with malice or oppression”.
Johnson’s lawyers argued over the course of a month-long trial in San Francisco that Monsanto had “fought science” for years and targeted academics who spoke up about possible health risks of the herbicide product.
Johnson was the first person to take the agrochemical corporation to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the brand Roundup causes cancer.
In the extraordinary verdict, which Monsanto said it intends to appeal, the jury ruled that the company was responsible for “negligent failure” and knew or should have known that its product was “dangerous”.
“We were finally able to show the jury the secret, internal Monsanto documents proving that Monsanto has known for decades that ... Roundup could cause cancer,” Johnson’s lawyer Brent Wisner said in a statement.
The verdict, he added, sent a “message to Monsanto that its years of deception regarding Roundup is over and that they should put consumer safety first over profits”.
This is very similar to the tobacco industry that knew nicotine was a health hazard but deigned this for years.
There are in America over 5000 cancer suffers waiting to sue Monsanto for failing to advise them that their glyphosate herbicide is a probably carcinogenic.
The World Health Organisation WHO stated that glyphosate was a probable carcinogenic back in 2015 .
The most thoroughly researched link is the one between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This blood cancer affects the lymph nodes and tissues, and sometimes even bone marrow.
If the other 5000 plus claimants against Monsanto were to be awarded similar then Monsanto/Bayer has a compensation bill of about 1.455 Trillion Dollars.
Total assets Monsanto Aug 31 2017 was US $21.33 billion. Bayer now owns Monsanto and their total assets are 75.087 billion (end 2017) If Bayer was found liable that would bankrupt both companies.
This is also a big word of warning to other brands of herbicides that have glyphosate in the formula, Label the products Probably carcinogenic.
If I was a retailer I would be putting a little sign up saying the same words to protect my business from possible future legal action.
The law states if you are knowingly selling something that you have been made aware of that it is possibly harmful, then you must inform your customers of this possibility to safe guard yourself against prosecution.