The following article, which refers to Ray Foxley’s hailstone test results , was published in this week’s edition of The Tribune on page 18. Its author, Wally Richards, is a well-respected gardener who writes a regular column and operates Garden Enterprises Ltd online. Give him your support and check his website out.
The Tribune is a community newspaper of which 44,552 copies are delivered free every Wednesday. Papers go to all homes in Palmerston North and Ashhurst, plus they are delivered to dairies and stores as far afield as Marton, Bulls, Sanson, Woodville, Pahiatua, Foxton and Shannon. Thank-you to the editor of this publication for including this otherwise little-known information.
Please note that Ray Foxley collected the hail sample during the hail storm, not afterwards, as this article indicates.
REVIEW OF CURRENT GARDENING PROBLEMS
By Wally Richards
December is upon us making now our official summer for the next three months.
The weather is a gardeners biggest problem to date, with too great a variation in temperatures, too windy, not sufficient sunny days and dependent where you are either a bit too wet or far too dry.
Last spring was about the same; though I think this one has been worse (or is that because its fresher to the mind?) Whether it is caused by global warming, global cooling or other factors it’s hard to say, other than we certainly do not get a good spring anymore. Here is an interesting aspect I received this week from a reader:
Earlier in November a severe hail storm destroyed apple and kiwifruit crops in the Tasman district of the South Island, causing extensive damage to orchards, destroying both fruit and netting.
A report I read said a chap called Ray noticed next day that the hail stones were not melting as they should so he collected a sample of hail and sent it to R J Hill Laboratories Ltd of Christchurch. (a trusted lab which is accredited by International Accreditation New Zealand)
Ray asked them to test for aluminium, barium and strontium, which are the principal components of aerosols. He received the results on November the 24th and the lab confirmed the presence of all three heavy metals and found that the level of aluminium was particularly high.
The concentration of aluminium in Ray’s hail sample was 2.5 grams/m³, which is equivalent to 2.5 milligrams/liter!
The Guideline Value for aluminium in the Drinking Water Standards New Zealand 2005 (DWSNZ) (Revised 2008) is < 0.1 g/m³, which Ray’s hail sample exceeds by 25 times.
The chemicals in the report apparently are used for weather control such as seeding clouds to make rain.
One thing that I have noticed in recent times in Palmerston North that when I take the dogs outside late at night for their comfort stop, that even on a cloud less night there are only a few of the brightest stars visible.
This would indicate that there is a layer of something (not clouds) between my eyes and the weaker light stars. Strange but whether it is a aspect of our weather or not which is effecting gardening I dont know.
What I do know is that even in my glasshouses things are not growing as well as they should at this time of the year even though we are quickly reaching the maximum amount of day light hours (December 21st.)
Reason could be a lot of cloudy days reducing the amount of direct sun that plants receive or some haze in the atmosphere deflecting sunlight.
I have also noticed that much of the foliage of many plants are a much darker richer green than I would expect at this time of the year.
Energy from sun light is absorbed by proteins called reaction centres that contain green chlorophyll pigments, when UV levels reduce the chlorophyll darkens to a rich green. Spraying a film over the foliage that acts as a sun screen will cause this effect. (EG Spray foliage with Vaporgard)
So if there happens to be particles higher up in the atmosphere (say aluminium, barium and strontium)
reflecting sunlight away from the earth surface during the day and obscuring the fainter stars at night, then we have something happening that is not normal and very likely man made.
If there is aluminium in the atmosphere then it can be assumed it will get into our drinking water which is a health risk.
Next problem is Curly Leaf in stone fruit; the time of this disease is fairly much passed and damage already done is what will make a difference to what fruit will be harvested. Lots of damaged leaves will likely mean no fruit, some damaged leaves will likely reduce harvest numbers.
The tree will produce more new leaves and the damaged ones will fall off.
You could spray with Copper and Raingard to help ensure the undamaged leaves remain undamaged.
A more pressing problem likely about at this time is grass grub beetles.
After emerging as a beetle they have about 6-8 weeks of mating, laying eggs and eating.
Damage can occur to a number of plants such as beans, cucumbers, roses, citrus, blue berries and many other plants. Holes in the leaves but no sign of the culprits as they only come out during the early hours of evening. Next day they are hiding away where you are unlikely to find them.
If you have plants that are being eaten then take a torch out after dark and check for the brown or bronze beetles, if there are a number of them then spray with Key Pyrethrum at that time to hit them with the spray. Repeat each night till the time of them is past.
Another method to catch and control the pest is a light trap.
In a window facing out where they are doing damage place a strong light and directly underneath the window pane place a trough two thirds full of water with a little kerosene floating on top of the water.
The beetles are attracted to the light, hit their head on the glass, fall into the trough, the kerosene prevents them climbing out. Next day flush them down the toilet or feed them to the chooks.
Codlin Moth is another pest that is around at the moment and will attack your apples by having the grubs eat into the apple where they grow, mature, then leave to pupate.
A spray of Neem oil over the apples will prevent entry. Use with Raingard and repeat about every 10 days till the new year. If you have not taken some action already you will likely have a number of damaged apples.
The Guava moth is a similar pest but one that has a very large range of fruit they damage.
Because the many different types of fruit damaged means they can operate all year round attacking each type of fruit as they come into season. As far as I am aware the pest is mostly in the North Island so far and particularly further north you go the more of a problem.
I would suggest that Neem being an anti-feedent and that by having a coating of the oil over any fruit when the grub takes a bite will stop it from entering and doing damage. Use with Raingard and repeat every 7 to 10 days.
Porina caterpillars also come from a moth and are active all year round in lawns and other areas.
The caterpillar comes up out of the soil to feed at night causing bare patches.
Cut the lawn and then spray the grass with Neem Oil seeking to get the spray to the base of the grass where they feed.
Repeat about every 3 months in areas where they are a ongoing problem.
Shield beetles, leaf hoppers, whitefly and psyllids are best controlled by a mixture of Neem Tree Oil, Key Pyrethrum sprayed late in the day when the sun is off the plants and the pests have settled for the evening. Not only will you need to repeat spray target plants but also check all plants in the area for signs of them as they will just re-infest.
Maybe over the fence next door is a big problem of pests which will keep you out spraying all season unless something is done about them where they are.