Bronze-orange bugs are beginning to appear on citrus trees, particularly those with tender, new growth.
Their characteristic repulsive smell is an indication of their presence.
The young nymphs are initially green, gradually darkening as they get older. When mature, the bronze orange bug is orange-brown or black and about 25 millimetres long.
When disturbed, the bugs orientate themselves so they can squirt an evil smelling chemical.
This chemical not only smells awful, it stains the skin and can cause a burning sensation if squirted in the eye.
The trees can be sprayed with horticultural spray or, alternatively, the pests can be vacuumed from the leaves.
The bag should then be emptied into a container of boiling water.
It is advisable to wear some form of eye protection when dealing with these bugs as they can squirt an irritating, smelly fluid when they have been disturbed.
If a branch that has the bugs on it is given a sharp knock, then the bugs will fall to the ground. Treading on them will destroy them.
Allowing the bugs to remain on the tree will lead to disfigurement of the leaves, branches and stems and eventually cause part of the tree to die away.
Numbers of plants that have been commonly grown in gardens over many years have become invasive in the bush close to residential areas.
Many of these plants then become established in the bush, to the detriment of plants endemic to the area.
Alternative plants, that will not become invasive, are available and might be considered by gardeners when planning new garden areas or rejuvenating older areas.
Morning glory is a creeper vine that has been popular in gardens in years past.But it has become an invasive plant, particularly in coastal areas. An alternative is Kennedia prostrata, a native Australian twiner, also known as running postman. It produces red flowers and is useful as a groundcover.
Fishbone fern, Nephrolepis, is a true fern that originates from areas of Queensland and northern NSW.
However, when it is used in suburban gardens, it can spread to moist sites such as those around creek beds. It is spread mainly by underground runners.
An alternative and most attractive fern is the prickly rasp fern, Doodia aspera. Its new growth is bright pink-orange.
This fern is quite tolerant of a wide variety of garden situations and is one of the most drought-tolerant local native ferns.
White-flowered arum or calla lilies can become very invasive in wet areas where they form dense stands that exclude most other plants.
A native lily, the swamp lily, also grows in wet and saline areas, requiring moist soil in full sun or part shade. Its large white flowers are similar in form to agapanthus flowers.
Ochna, or Mickey Mouse plant, so called because of the fleshy black fruits, surrounded by red sepals that it produces, has become a fairly common weed in bush areas.
Additionally it appears in domestic gardens as it is usually spread by birds eating the seeds.
Ochna is a very tough plant, growing with a strong tap root, making it more difficult to remove.
An alternative plant would be one of the many varieties of leucospermums, or smaller growing lillypillies (Acmena and Syzygium species).
Jacaranda trees have been a mass of beautiful purple flowers over recent weeks.
Because of the large numbers of these trees growing in Australia, and particularly in local areas, many people think that jacarandas are native to Australia.
Jacarandas originate from Brazil and Argentina, where they grow on the dry, high altitude plains.
Recent strong wind may have caused limbs and branches to break away from the main parts of trees. These should be removed and the area trimmed off cleanly, in order to prevent disease entering the wound.
However, general pruning of jacaranda trees is usually not recommended as it can encourage the growth of vertical branches, spoiling the natural, spreading habit of the trees.
If garden or park space permits, the planting of jacarandas in conjunction with cape chestnuts (with pale to dark pink flowers), silky oaks (with bright orange flowers) and Illawarra flame trees (with masses of orange/red flowers) can create spectacular scenes at this time of the year.
Many plants of the onion weed are in flower. Some gardeners may not have realised they have this weed in their patch as they do not recognise the white flowers as belonging to this pest.
Onion weeds produce small white flowers on tall, grey/green stems. Within a couple of days small, black seeds appear and these will then spread over the surrounding area.
Apart from the distribution of seeds after flowering, the main method onion weed uses to multiply is through the bulblets that form under the ground.
If the stem above the ground is just pulled out of the ground in the normal way of weeding, the bulblets under the ground will separate, forming new plants.
Control and eventual eradication of onion weed requires persistence. Flower heads that appear on the stems should be removed and put into the garbage.
Attempts at digging out the plant may spread it further.