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November’s Garden Guide

PUBLISHED: 10:03 22 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:03 22 November 2016

Pyracantha 'Saphyr'

Pyracantha 'Saphyr'

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Plant specialist Keith Clouting of Taverham Nursery Centre brings you his guide to getting the best out of your garden

Euonymus alatusEuonymus alatus

With the nights drawing in and spiders’ webs glistening with the early morning dew, autumn and all its colours are well and truly with us. Fruit and berries are an important part of this kaleidoscope of colour and also important sources of food for wildlife. Among the most popular fruiting shrubs are Pyracanthas, a species which has seen some interesting new varieties introduced over recent years including the Saphyr range which is reputed to have some resistance to Pyracantha scab disease which weakens plants and makes them look unsightly.

The Pyracantha Saphyr series comes in red, orange and yellow, forming compact bushy shrubs growing to around 2.5m height and spread. Another interesting new variety is P. ‘Golden Paradise’ - this bushy evergreen has bright yellow leaves flushed with red in the spring. These turn to a lime green in high summer, with more red tints in the autumn and winter. The white flowers are followed by an abundance of small, orange-red berries.

Pyracantha 'Golden Paradise'Pyracantha 'Golden Paradise'

Pyracanthas grow best in fertile, well-drained soil but are tolerant of both dry and clay soil. A position in full sun will produce most berries. They are happy growing in shade, but a smaller crop of berries will be produced.

Question time

Some of the leaves on my bay tree are curling over and turning yellow. What could the problem be?

This sounds like bay sucker (Lauritrioza alacris) which breed on bay trees, making the leaves unsightly. One side of the leaf usually curls over, turning yellow then brown. The feeding nymphs secrete a sticky honeydew, which in severe cases can also encourage a sooty mould on the leaves. Light infestations may be controlled by pruning; for larger outbreaks use a systemic insecticide, being careful to check harvest intervals if using the leaves for cooking. To help prevent further outbreaks, clear up fallen leaves which could harbour next year’s pests.

Plant of the month

Euonymus alatus

Euonymus alatus is a popular, slow-to-medium growing, deciduous shrub and, although its green flowers in summer may be insignificant, the berries which follow are an attractive purple-red and split to reveal bright orange berries inside. It’s at this time of year when it really shows its best with a spectacular display of fiery crimson-red foliage which when planted in a sunny spot really illuminates the bright colours. The word alatus means winged, which refers to the corky strips on the trunk and branches which become a feature in the winter when the leaves have dropped.

Jobs for the month:

1. Tulip bulbs can be planted in containers and borders now for a fabulous spring display.

2. Give strawberries an autumn tidy up, clearing away any runners and dead leaves.

3. Apply grease bands to fruit trees to prevent winter moths from climbing the trunks to lay eggs.

4. Wrap up tender plants such as bananas for winter hibernation. Tree ferns should also have their crowns protected with fleece or straw.

5. Avoid splashing leaves when watering greenhouse plants to help prevent fungal infections.

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