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Gardening FAQs

1. What can I use to defend against weeds?
2. How can I help my fish during the freezing winter months?
3. I have lots of moss on my lawn and it's driving me crazy, what can I do?
4. How do I control moss in my lawn?
5. How can I help my fruit trees fight against the bugs?
6. A little beetle is decimating my lilies, please help!
7. How do I help my houseplants grow?
8. How do I look after my poinsettia?
9. How can I maintain my rose garden?
10. What should I use to feed my hanging baskets?
11. How do I get my Hydrangea to retain its nice blue colour?
12. I am sick of watering my plants every day in the summer, any suggestions?
13. My Hosta suffers badly from slugs, but I don't want to use slug pellets as I have a dog...
14. How do I start my Begonia tubers?
15. How do I care for my baby plants?
16. Is there an easy way to prune my roses?
17. What is the best first aid in the garden?
18. I would like to have lights in my garden that are easy to fit.
19. What are the advantages of buying a rooted Christmas tree?
20. I've bought a rooted Christmas tree, how should I care for it?
21. How do I prevent my Christmas tree from shedding its needles?

 

What can I use to defend against weeds?

 Use a weed control fabric which allows water and nutrients to pass into the soil and helping to retain moisture for the plants, but defends against weeds, preventing them growing through.

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How can I help my fish during the freezing winter months?

Make a hole in the ice by melting it using a container of hot water.

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I have lots of moss on my lawn and it's driving me crazy, what can I do ?

Apply a good quality feed and moss killer evenly across the lawn such as Scotts Lawn Builder & Moss Control. After two weeks the moss will go a black-brown colour. Rake off the dead moss and re-seed the bare patches. Providing good drainage and regular feeding will help control moss occurring.

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How can I help my fruit trees fight against the bugs?

Provado Ultimate Bug Killer RTU can be sprayed onto the trees.

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A little beetle is decimating my lilies, please help!

Lily beetle is a relatively new pest in the UK, very easily recognised by its brilliant red colour. Both the adults and the larvae can cause severe damage to lilies and other plants including Hosta. The most effective treatment for plants growing in pots is to drench them with Provado Vine Weevil Killer, this is systemic in action and will protect plants for up to 6 months from lily beetle, greenfly,scale etc. as well as vine weevil. For open ground plants spraying with Provado Ultimate Bug Killer is effective, the treatment should be repeated after 14 days.

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How do I help my houseplants grow?

Feed with a houseplant fertiliser, keeping a close look out for any diseases or pests. Choose a sheltered spot away from excessive heat or draughts.

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How can I encourage pondlife?

At spring time give the pond a good clean, discarding older aquatic plants.

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How can I maintain my rose garden?

Start a spray programme using insecticides and fungicide, feeding regularly with a rose fertiliser such as Provado, Fungus Clear and Top Rose fertiliser.

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How do I look after my poinsettia?

To get the best out of your poinsettia remember to water it regularly and do not expose it to extremes of temperature, hot or cold, a normal warm room is about right. In addition to the fiery red blooms, keep a look out for white and pink poinsettias.

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What should I use to feed my hanging baskets?

You can use either a liquid food such as Miracle Gro Pour and Feed or put Miracle Gro Plant Food Tablets in the compost, which will feed the basket for the whole season.

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How do I get my Hydrangea to retain its nice blue colour?

To preserve the colour of your blue hydrangea a pH Value under 5.5 is required. For pot culture use Westland Ericaceous Compost, and treat with Vitax Hydrangea Colorant as recommended on the container. For plants growing in the open ground the use of Vitax Hydrangea Colorant at planting time, and regular subsequent treatments will keep the flowers an intense blue.

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I am sick of watering my plants every day in the summer, any suggestions?

All plants require an adequate supply of water, and whilst, especially, during hot weather this can become a major chore there are various products available which can make the task far less time consuming. Probably the ultimate solution is the Hoselock range of automatic irrigation equipment. This can be used for borders, patios, greenhouses and containers, it is available with both manual and computer control systems. For hanging baskets and containers the use of water storing granules will help reduce the frequency of watering. These work by absorbing water and releasing it gradually to the plants, they are not a substitute for water! Mulching of borders with chipped bark or a membrane, such as Weed Block, will reduce evaporation, and as an added bonus will aid in suppressing weed growth. Careful choice of drought tolerant plants can also reduce the frequency of watering. Finally remember that a good hosepipe and sprinkler will always take much of the pain out of manual watering.

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My Hosta suffers badly from slugs, but I don't want to use slug pellets because I have a dog...

For those averse to using slug pellets because of pets, wildlife, children etc, various other methods of control exist: Growing Success Slug Killer is non toxic to pets and wildlife, and will offer control of both slugs and snails. Slug traps may be used to trap and drown slugs. Gauba Fito Slug Barrier Granules are an excellent repellent which is spread on the soil around the plants, it provides a barrier which slugs and snails will not cross.

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How do I start my Begonia tubers?

Tubers of begonias should be pressed into the surface of moist compost, hollow side up, do not completely bury them but plant with the surface level with the soil. The tubers should be kept in a reasonably warm place where shoots will be produced in a short period of time, plants can be put outdoors once all danger of frost is passed.

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How do I care for my baby plants?

In early spring summer baby bedding plants are available, these are great for the amateur as the seedlings are ready germinated and cuttings fully rooted, therefore dispensing with the need for the higher temperatures required for striking cuttings or germinating seeds. Baby plants can be easily grown on to provide a stunning display of summer colour at a fraction of the cost of the larger plants offered later in the season. The keys to success with these plants are good light and a frost-free environment. Your seedlings will develop rapidly, and should be pricked out or potted on soon after purchase, using a general seedling or cutting compost. Do not allow the young plants to try out, but try to ensure evenly moist compost for the young plants. If you encounter any problems with seedlings rotting, treat with a fungicide (Our staff will be happy to advise). Prior to planting in the open around May the young plants should be hardened off by placing them in a cooler position and gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions.

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Is there an easy way to prune my roses?

The best time to prune bush roses is just as growth begins in spring. Traditional methods of rose pruning have been rather laborious and complicated for amateur growers, and the Easy-Care method, which has been extensively tested, by the Royal National Rose Society and other organisations has been shown to give results equalling those produced by more traditional means. The bush is simply cut to half its height using a sharp pair of secateurs or even a hedge trimmer. There is no need to remove the weaker and twiggy growth, dead wood however should be cut back to its base.

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What is the best first aid in the garden?

Many of the older cures for pests in the garden are no longer available, or have been replaced by newer chemicals and knowing which to choose can be quite difficult with many gardening reference books recommending chemicals which are no longer available. Our garden care department offers a whole range of products all of which are very effective, but to ensure you get the best choice for your requirement then be sure to ask at our information desk. For now here are a couple of our top recommendations:- Provado Ultimate Bug Killer! - This is the only insecticide on the market which doesn’t just work on contact, but it also finds its way into the system of the plant and protects against insects for up to 8 weeks - Available as a concentrate or in a ready to use spray formula. Round Up - A fast acting weed killer which destroys annual and deep rooted perennials such as dandelions, grasses and thistles right down to the root. Like Provado, Round Up is systemic in action working from inside the plant. Roundup is rapidly degraded on contact with the soil leaving no harmful residue which could harm pets or children.

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I would like to have lights in my garden that are easy to fit.

The best solution would be either a low voltage light set or solar powered lights. Both are very flexible, can be fitted yourself, and come in a variety of different styles. The low voltage systems are brighter than the solar powered range, but the solar powered can be placed anywhere as they do not require wiring.

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What are the advantages in buying a rooted Christmas Tree?

1) Needle drop is greatly reduced, as the tree does not dehydrate as quickly as a cut tree. The roots take up moisture from the compost.

2) The tree stays fresh for longer because of the reduced rate of dehydration.

3) There is no need for a stand.

4) It will make an attractive garden plant after Christmas is over

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I've bought a rooted Christmas tree, how should I take care of it?

To keep a potted tree in good condition it should be kept in a cool environment, its chances of survival will be reduced in a warm room, as dehydration will be accelerated. The compost should be kept moist at all times. After Christmas the tree may be planted out in the garden. When planting, as with any other plant, root disturbance should be kept to a minimum, and the tree kept well watered.

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How do I prevent my Christmas tree from shedding it's needles?

Needle loss in Christmas trees can be greatly reduced by placing the tree in the coolest part of the room, away from any sources of direct heat. The use of a tree stand with a water reservoir is recommended. Spraying the tree with an anti needle drop spray is also of great value. Finally remember that some varieties are much less prone to needle drop than others, Nordman fir and Scots pine are virtually non-drop.

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Bents Garden & Home, Warrington Road, Glazebury, Nr Warrington, Cheshire, WA3 5NT    Tel: 01942266300    E-mail: howcanwehelp@bents.co.uk
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