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EARLIER COLUMNS
Trees that offer shade & a feast of colour
June 1, 2003
Prioritise your plantsí water needs
May 18, 2003
Cover new ground with duranta
May 4, 2003
Being led up the garden path
April 20, 2003
Pamper the papaya plant
April 6, 2003
Shrubs keep your garden colourful the year round
March 23, 2003
Fruit trees that are a must have
March 9, 2003
Watch out for pests on mango trees
March 2, 2003
Landscaping requires detailed planning
February 9, 2003


Sunday, June 15, 2003
Garden Life

Banish the borer
Satish Narula

Inject methyl parathion into the tree holes housing the borers
Inject methyl parathion into the tree holes housing the borers

STORMS and strong winds do considerable damage to garden plants. The injury is multi-pronged. It may lead to limb breakage, lopsided bending of the plants or uprooting. At times, the plants may look normal or unaffected but may suddenly dry up due to disturbed roots. It happens mostly in case of deciduous fruit plants like the peach, plum, etc. Such problems get aggravated when storms are accompanied by rain.

Limb breakage is the most common problem and there are several reasons for it. It may happen if there is a weak and wide-angled crotch. This can be prevented by giving the tree proper training after removing such limbs.

No doubt, there are some trees that have brittle branches like the jamun, millingtonia, some cassia species and chakrasia. But when the big branches of trees like the Arjun, mango, citrus, pear, etc break, the culprit is the tree borer, its Inderbela species. The one to two-inches-long caterpillar lives in the main trunk or branches of a tree by boring holes. Its damage is also multi-pronged. It eats the bark of the tree besides making holes in the trunk and other limbs. When it is not eating, it retracts into the hole. Its secretions kill the internal tissues and weaken the branches besides disturbing the food-conduction channels. Such weakened branches break in the slightest breeze. An irregular broken edge is the favourable egg-laying spot for the borers who enter the trunks or limbs at such places. To prevent their entry, one should make a smooth round cut at the site of limb breakage by using a saw.

How many of you can identify the insect or signs of its presence on a tree? You can spot its presence even from a distance of 20 feet. Look at a tree trunk or limbs, especially near the joints or broken edges. You will find a brown coloured web embedded with granules. This, in fact is the insect excreta woven into a web that forms a protective tunnel under which the insect feeds. Remove this web and you will find a hole in the branch. Inject methyl parathion, dissolved at 4 ml in a litre of water, and plug the hole with a cotton swab or wet mud. The insect gets killed within the hole.

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