Areas of a fine sawdust-like material on a tree trunk, with the particles stuck together, will indicate the presence of borers.
These are grubs that burrow into the tree’s wood, weakening the timber and eventually causing branches to fall off and the tree to die. Once the sawdust covering has been scraped away a hole, in which the grub will be active, will be evident underneath. A piece of thin wire can be used in an attempt to remove the grub. In addition, an insecticide can be sprayed into the hole, which can then be plugged with putty or a similar material.
Modern breeding has resulted in a wide variety of citrus fruits being available, ranging in size from dwarf forms through to full size trees. Many are most suitable for smaller gardens and backyards, and pot culture.
Some of the more usual varieties of lemons are Lisbon, Eureka, and Meyer.
Lisbon lemons have their heaviest crop in winter and are the best for cooler climates. It is a vigorous grower, with thorns on the stems.
The Eureka lemon is thornless and the fruit has few seeds. However, it is not as hardy in extremes of heat and cold. Because it continues to bear for many months, it is a popular variety for the home garden. Fruit is produced in winter.
Meyer lemons has quite a thin skin with sweeter fruit. This is because it is considered by some to not be a true lemon, rather a cross between a lemon and an orange. It crops for much of the year but the main cropping time is in summer.
A newer variety is the lemonade tree, which is a hybrid lemon, producing very juicy fruit with a mild flavour.
Fruits are easily peeled.
Limes are very popular for cooking and juicing, but also make delicious marmalade, especially if combined with ginger.
The Tahitian lime has seedless fruit produced on a nearly thornless tree. While limes prefer subtropical climates, they are generally tolerant of light frosts and colder winters.
The West Indian lime is a seedy fruit with a true lime flavour. It requires warmer temperatures.
Kaffir limes produce leaves and fruits that are essential ingredients in certain Asian dishes. Plants tolerate light frosts.
Wheeny grapefruit are one of the two main varieties. Heat is required for the production of good flavoured fruit, which matures in late summer. Fruit can take 12-14 months to mature.
The other main grapefruit variety is the Marsh grapefruit. It is seedless and also produces better flavoured fruit in warmer climates, ripening between August and November.
A newer variety is the Ruby grapefruit, producing fruits with a reddish flesh that is seedless and much sweeter than the Marsh grapefruit. It also makes a very tasty marmalade. Fruits ripen in autumn to early winter.
There are several varieties of mandarin available, including Page, Nova, Fremont and Hickson, while some of the more common varieties are Imperial, Ellendale and Emperor. Page, Fremont and Imperial mandarins all have good flavoured fruits, which ripen in late autumn to early winter. Imperial is perhaps the most frost-tolerant, while Hickson are well suited to coastal areas of high humidity.
Tangelos are a cross between grapefruit and mandarins, producing fruits with a strong orange-coloured skin.
The fruits are very juicy, although the trees are not very vigorous.
Aspidistra, the Cast-iron plant, has for many years been one of the preferred plants for indoor areas, requiring little in the way of attention while maintaining a healthy green, growth.
However, over recent years, other plants have become more popular, particularly with the placing of plants in offices.
The Peace Lily has found a place in many indoors areas as it produces glossy green leaves and pure white, hooded flowers. Plants grow to between 30 and 40cm high. With the right conditions, Peace lilies will flower throughout the year. Flowers will form if the plant has been placed into a position of quite low light, although more light will improve flowering. The leaves on the plant will droop if it requires watering. Pelleted fertilisers that have been developed for indoor plants may be used, although indoor plants grow quite slowly and have lower feeding requirements.
The Zanzibar Gem is a more recent development in plants that are most suitable for growing indoors. It can be seen in many offices. Its glossy, waxy, green leaves appear as a cross between palms and ferns. They are divided into a number of smaller leaflets. New leaves first appear as upright spikes that gradually unfold to reveal the leaflets.
Zanzibar Gem originates from Africa, where it grows in dry, shaded sites and is tolerant of periods of neglect.
Its main requirements are being kept in a warmer position and not being over-watered. Plants tolerate positions of low light, although, as with most other plants, a brightly lit indoor area will produce the better plant. If it is required to grow the plant in an area of poorer light, it may be preferable to have two plants and interchange them between areas of better and poorer lighting. Leaves can be kept clean by occasionally wiping them with a damp cloth. Care should be taken to wash hands well after handling a Zanzibar Gem as parts of the plant are considered poisonous, particularly if ingested.