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Browse all our advice on plant problems
Search our A - Z directory to find out expert advice on all your plant problems.
Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) is a cheerful sight in spring with its shiny, buttercup yellow flowers. However, its persistent root tubers make it an unwelcome weed in most gardens and control is usually necessary.
The maggots of celery leaf mining fly feed within the leaves of celery, celeriac and related plants. Damaged areas dry up and can give the appearance of scorched foliage.
The large white c-shaped grubs of some chafer beetles can damage the roots of plants. Some species cause serious damage to lawns (for these see chafer grubs in lawns). Most chafer grubs are not pests, these include some that feed on decomposing vegetable matter and can be useful composters.
A combination of some species of chafer grub and larger animals that feed on them can quickly turn a lawn into something that resembles a ploughed field.
Grass lawns have the disadvantage of requiring regular mowing, feeding and edging. In sunny areas where foot traffic is light or mower access is difficult, Chamaemelum nobile (chamomile) can be used to provide a lower maintenance alternative to grass.
Pest, disease and weed control can be made easier with the targeted use of chemicals. Before using or even buying garden chemicals, it is important to read the label; this contains vital information on how to use the product safely and effectively.
Garden chemicals should be used with care to minimise impact on ourselves, wildlife and the environment. Their safe storage and disposal is equally important and often overlooked, but some simple guidelines are all that is needed.
Sprayers are available in most garden centres and DIY chains, and make it much easier to apply weedkillers, insecticides and other sprays to a large area than using ready-to-use packs with nozzles.
Plants often require protecting from pests, diseases and competitive weeds. Consider non-chemical solutions first, but if a chemical control is used, follow the instructions accurately to ensure that people, pets and the wider environment are kept safe.
As well as choosing products that will actually kill the weeds you have, it is worth remembering that there are different formulations. For example, ready-to-use spray guns are ideal for killing a few weeds in a patio, whereas a bottle of concentrate that you mix up is more economical for a large border. Here we explain the choices.
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