Charming Conifers – PROTEK

Charming Conifers – PROTEK

Protek @ Garden World

Conifers are ancient survivors.  They are amongst the oldest tree species in the world dating back millions of years.

South Africa is home to a rich diversity of conifers with over thirty-five species found in various habitats, from the coast to the mountain slopes.  Most conifers will grow in just about every climate, but do not grow well in arid, semi-desert climatic zones where dry soils and scorching temperatures affect their growth. 

Although these evergreen beauties are waterwise and drought tolerant when established, regular watering is important, especially in dry areas, while establishing themselves. Water well until their root system is fully established. 

Conifers provide a sense of stability and structure to your garden and are regarded as a real asset, contributing to the value of your property.  It is suggested that one third of your garden plants should be conifers.  They also support wildlife as they provide an important habitat and food source for numerous bird species making them essential for local bird diversity.  They are versatile and come in a variety of forms, textures and colours.  They require full sun but the dark green and greys can be planted in dappled shade.

Several conifer species in South Africa are endemic, meaning that they are found nowhere else in the word, like the Outeniqua Yellowwood and the Cedarberg Cypress, making them treasures of the regions’ flora.

Due to their non-invasive root system, they can be planted next to walls and swimming pools and will not lift paving stones.

Their natural shapes vary from broad upright or oval, narrow upright, columnar with a gradually tapering column, conical, cushion or bun-shaped, round, weeping branches, ground hugging without upright growth, spreading, symmetrical with neat branching and foliage or irregular with an erratic growth pattern.

Garden conifers come in an variety of year-round colours.  The colours range from dark green to lime yellow, blue, lavender, gold and silver.  Others are bi-coloured and have variegated foliage with stripes, spots or patches. 

Conifers are valued for their sculptural qualities and be clipped, trimmed and trained into shapes.  Pruning can be done when the plant is dormant but diseased and dead branches must be removed immediately.  Don’t prune drastically by cutting too far into the brown foliage – the plant may never fully recover and will leave you with an ugly, exposed, brown patch.  Conifers should only be trimmed within the boundaries of their young, green needles.  If you hit the older, brown foliage, there is no going back – conifers do not regrow from old wood. 

Conifers require well-drained, slightly acidic soil.  Enrich the soil when planting by adding compost, mulch and Peat Moss Acidic Blend from Protek.  Conifers are sensitive to chemical fertilisers – feed them with organic products like Protek’s Guanosol or Guanoflo.   Guanosol is easy to use, just use one to three pills per plant, depending on their size, and see them thrive for up to 3 months.  Guanoflo can be applied directly to the soil, but is fantastic to use as a foliar fertiliser, providing the nutrients your conifers need to grow and stay strong.  If you prefer a pelleted fertiliser, feed your trees monthly in the growing seasons with Protek’s Nutrigreen Gro Green.

Conifers struggle with destructive pests which can make life tough for them. So, they need a little help to thrive.

When the branches go brown, including the young, green needles, it means that the plant suffers from a disease caused by insects, fungi, bacteria or viruses or a combination thereof.

One of the most common causes of brown patches is the cypress aphid.  These aphids reach its peak infestation during the cooler months, starting in March until August after which the numbers drop as it becomes warmer. They inject a toxin into the plant branches while sucking the sap.  The first sign you will notice is yellowing of the foliage, later turning into brown patches, Unfortunately the damage done by these insects is only visible in October.  The best advice is to treat your plants preventatively with Protek’s Imidor as a soil drench at the roots of the tree.  Also be on the lookout for ants around the conifers as their appearance is a tell-tale sign that the Italian Cypress Aphid is present.  The ants and cypress aphids live in symbioses – the ants “milk” the aphids for honeydew, which is a food source to them and in turn, the ants protect the aphids from their natural enemies.  Treat ants with Nip-it Ant Control. The honeydew can also cause a secondary fungus infection, ie. sooty mould.  Treat preventatively with Protek Tenazole, a systemic fungicide. 

Let’s appreciate the magnificent conifers that grace us with their presence in our gardens and acknowledge their versatility and beauty

Act 36 OF 1947

Read label before use

Keep out of reach of children

Gro Green: B4665, N 39 g/kg, P 10 g/kg, K 40 g/kg, Zn 61 mg/kg, Cu 17 mg/kg, Mo 22 mg/kg, Fe 869 mg/kg, B 256 mg /kg, Mn 212 mg/kg, C 315 g/kg, Group 2 fertiliser, registration holder: Farmworx (Pty) Ltd, company registration number: 2012/092415/07, PO Box 645, Heidelberg, 1439, telephone number: 011 812 9800

Guanoflo: B3415, 13.8 g/kg N, 17 g/kg P, 2.1 g/kg K, 40.38 mg/kg Ca, 2521 mg/kg Mg, 1990 mg/kg Na, 16 mg/kg Mn, 606 mg/kg Fe, 11 mg/kg Cu, 91 mg/kg Zn, 6 mg/kg B, Group 2 fertiliser, registration holder: Farmworx (Pty) Ltd, company registration number: 2012/092415/07, PO Box 645, Heidelberg, 1439, telephone number: ( 011) 812 9800

Guanosol: B3416, 77 g/kg N, 51 g/kg P, 36 g/kg K, 22 mg/kg Mn, 15 mg/kg Cu, 8.43 mg/kg Ca, 0.61 mg/kg Mg, 1110 g /kg Na, 516 mg/kg Zn, 16 mg/kg B, Group 2 fertiliser, registration holder: FarmWorx (Pty) Ltd, company registration number: 2012/092415/07, PO Box 645, Heidelberg, 1438, telephone number: 011 812 9800

Tenazole 250 EW: L8558, tebuconazole (triazole), 250 g/l, DANGER,H303- may be harmful if swallowed, H314 – causes severe skin burns and eye damage, H319 – causes serious eye irritation, H361 – suspected of damaging fertility of the unborn child, H351 – suspected of causing cancer, H304 – may be fatal if swallowed and enters airways, H400 – very toxic to aquatic life, H410 – very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.  registration holder: Arysta LifeScience South Africa (Pty) Ltd, company registration number: 2009/019713/07, 7 Sunbury Office Park, Off Douglas Saunders Drive, La Lucia, 4019, telephone number: 031 514 5600

Imidor 350 SC: L8019, imidacloprid (chloronicotinil) 350 g/l, HARMFUL, registration holder: Villa Crop Protection (Pty) Ltd, company registration number: 1992/002472/07, PO Box, Aston Manor, 1630, telephone number: 011 396 2233

Distributed by: Protek, a division of PE-BEE Agri (Pty) Ltd, PO Box 72, Heidelberg,1438, telephone number (011) 812-9800 or 0861 PROTEK (0861 77 68 35), www.protek.co.z

 

 

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