Q:  Can you please give me some advice on the pruning of josteberries. I have a number of plants on my allotment and they are very vigorous growers and need to be reduced a bit.  Rick

A: Normally josteberries pruned similarly to a gooseberry and they fruit on last year’s wood. You therefore can remove and prune the wood that has fruited this year leaving the new growth to fruit for next year.


I was nothing less than appalled when listening to your programme this morning.  I am sick and tired of hearing about the best way to kill things. I presume he was your guest, a Mr. Hodge, seemed almost excited when advising a listener on how to kill ants.  Describing how the ants take this poison down into their nest and it wipes the whole lot out.  If it wasn’t for ants, the human population wouldn’t even exist.  Why do many of you so called gardeners jump at every opportunity to kill anything living that you feel shouldn’t be in your garden.  I live on West Mersea and have a couple of acres.  I don’t use weed killers or any of your so called pest killers and apart from having to keep up with the weeds on the drives, have no need to use such chemicals on these creatures.  No wonder our bird population is not doing so well.  Wake up to nature and stop killing everything you feel gets in your way.  I spoke with a couple of friends this  morning who are also of the same opinion.  Julie.


Q:  Hi, hope you can help me. My garden has been invaded by earwigs and they are eating my pot plants, leaves and roots. They lurk under our patio table and come out at night. They are under every pot and even on the bird table.  Now I have found them in my Fridge in the garage and yesterday in my bread bin in the kitchen! Help, how can I get rid of them?
Desperate of Rayleigh!!!

A: One of the best methods is to place upside down clay pots on top of a cane strategically around the garden, stuff them with straw or shredded paper – the earwigs will be attracted to this.  You then have two options: the friendly one is to shake the material to the floor and stamp on them quickly, alternative I have known people to set light to the straw or paper.


Q: Please can you help. We planted a 5′ Robina Tree last week which has now sunk about 3″ below ground level.  Do we dig up and replant, or just top up with soil? Thanks Gill.

A: Ideally the base level of the original soil when it was in the pot should not be exceeded when planted in the ground.  If it is necessary to raise the level of the rootball of the tree, try not to lift the tree out completely but raise it by pushing soil underneath it with your foot by leaning the tree gently first one way and then the other.


Q: Please can you advise.  I have two acers planted in the ground growing well I recently noticed what looks like a white fungus on the trunk of both and its growing up the bark.  One acer leaves are starting to curl at the end of branches not sure if related to fungus.  What do I need to get rid of the fungus?

A: Are you sure it’s a fungus, as often Acers are susceptible to scale insect in these dry warm conditions.  If it’s scale insect it would be sticky and could be treated with Provado.  If it’s a fungus I would consider that quite worrying as Acers are never the strongest growing shrubs.  Try spraying with Fungus Fighter and see whether this helps.  A picture to us could help identify which it is.