Wednesday, October 9, 2013



Tibouchinas in bloom are hard to Now, thanks to the expertise, patience and
miss, with their vivid purple flowersmaking a truly spectacular floraldisplay. However, these largeshrubs or small trees aren’t grown
just for their flowers. They are renowned forbeing a tough, easy-care plant with ornamentalleaves and few pest or disease problems.
Tibouchinas hail from the subtropicalsouth-east of Brazil. Some older gardenerswill know them by their old botanical name,Lasiandra, or even as glory bush. The mostcommon species is Tibouchina granulosa, asmall evergreen tree that grows to 10m andis often planted as a street tree. Like mosttibouchinas, it flowers from late summer toearly winter, although in warmer areas thiscan extend to spring. There are also lesscommon species, such as T. mutabilis, whichflower in spring and early summer.
Although some lesser-known tibouchinasare pink and white, most of the varietiestraditionally available to gardeners have hadpurple flowers. This is because they were themost common varieties and, as it is so difficultto propagate tibouchinas by seed, they wereonly propagated by cuttings. Hence, the colourhas remained essentially the same.
Old favourites
There have been a few cultivars developedin the past, which have become firm gardenfavourites. T. lepidota ‘Alstonville’ is one ofthe most loved, growing to about 4m tall andbearing striking iridescent purple flowers.Smaller-growing cultivars, such as ‘Jules’and ‘Jazzie’, grow to no more than 1m tall.
perseverance of innovative Australian plantbreeder Terry Keogh, there are new varietiesavailable in different colours and heights, andwith cold tolerance and extended flowering.This is great news for gardeners everywhere.
Fabulous new varieties
Terry Keogh has worked in the horticulturalindustry for decades. Starting out in a Brisbaneretail nursery, he became frustrated by peopleasking if tibouchinas came in colours otherthan purple. So, when he started his ownwholesale nursery, he embarked on a missionto breed tibouchinas in new colours and sizes,and with more compact growth habits.
The first problem was mastering the releaseof the pollen from the flowers. In its naturalhabitat, the tibouchina is pollinated byhummingbirds, the fast beating of their wingsresonating at just the right frequency torelease the pollen. Terry had to work out a wayto replicate this, and how he did it is a secrethe guards closely. He persisted for nearly twodecades, sometimes thinking he had exhaustedall possibilities before discovering a newavenue to pursue. Eventually, after endlesscrossings of many seed-raised varieties,Terry’s dedication paid off, resulting in one ofAustralia’s greatest plant breeding programs.
Released this spring, the new range oftibouchinas is called Fantasy Flowers (see
box, page 24
box, page 24). The five cultivars all flowerprofusely, peaking in November and continuingthrough the warmer months. They featurelarge blooms in different colours and sizes.



Friday, September 27, 2013

Cankers On Trees

How To Treat Cankers
You may have noticed some unsightly cankerous looking wounds in your tree. What are tree cankers and what causes them, and how do you treat cankers in a tree once you see them? Continue reading to learn more about the types of canker in trees and how to go about preventing tree cankers.
What Are Tree Cankers?
Cankers on trees appear as isolated dead areas on the bark, stems, branches or twigs. Cankers may appear as discolored areas or depressed places on the bark.
A fungus that enters the tree and grows between the bark and the wood killing the bark generally causes cankers.
However, cankers can also be caused by damage from weed eaters, lawnmowers, chemicals, insects or environmental conditions.
The canker itself makes the tree highly vulnerable to bacteria, fungus and insects. Young fruit trees have an especially difficult time recovering from cankers. Established shade trees may weaken and become susceptible to wind damage.
The healthier the tree is, the more likely it is to ward off serious damage from a canker disease. Trees that are weakened by temperature, drought, poor nutrition or other present diseases are much more susceptible to canker diseases. Canker diseases are more common with hardwood trees than on conifers.
Type of Cankers in Trees can Vary
Depending on the region where you live, different cankers on trees are found. Some of the more common types of canker in trees include:
Thyronectria canker is caused by a fungus and is most common on the honey locust tree.
Nectria canker tends to attack deciduous shade trees, crabapples and pears.
Cytospora canker is found most often in fruit trees, hardwood forest trees and shrubs, as well as over 70 species of conifers.
Hypoxylon canker is seen in different species of oak including red and white.
How Do You Treat Cankers in a Tree Effectively?
So how do you treat cankers in a tree? Preventing tree cankers is the best method of protection. It is best to plant native or well-adapted species for your growing region. These tree species will suffer less stress and adapt well to the soil type, sun exposure and overall environmental conditions in your area.
The avoidance of stress is the best and most effective protection against canker diseases. Proper tree care including watering, feeding, mulching and pruning will help to keep trees as healthy as possible.
Once a tree has canker, it is essential to remove as much of the canker fungi as possible from the tree to avoid infection and spread. Prune only during dry weather and make cuts with a sterilized cutting tool at least 4 inches below the edge of the canker on trees.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tree Disease & Fungus Treatment Services

Tree Disease & Fungus Treatment Services

Tree disease diagnosis and tree protection treatment begins with a comprehensive inspection of your landscape by one of Zeal Property Maintenance industry-certified arborists. During a consultation, your arborist will be able to determine the overall health of the landscape, identify specific tree diseases, and recommend any needed tree services to preserve the vitality of your property. Zeal Property Maintenance experience, expertise and state-of-the-art equipment enable us to quickly diagnose tree diseases and recommend specific treatments for tree protection and vitality.


Treatment for Tree Diseases


Tree service programs designed to maximize the health and beauty of your landscape need to take into account the specific conditions of the trees at your home. Tree disease treatment is most effective when the type of tree, disease characteristics and your personal preferences are all taken into consideration.

Zeal Property Maintenance foliar tree disease treatments are designed to protect your valuable evergreen and deciduous ornamentals from damage due to foliar tree diseases.

Most of these are caused by fungi that are prevalent during spring when the weather is rainy. Treatments provide a protective barrier on the leaf or needle surface that will prevent the germination and growth of spores that cause tree diseases.

Common Tree Diseases and Treatments


Professional tree disease treatments can help protect your landscape investment and enhance your property value. Our arborists are experienced tree doctors who diagnose and treat many types of trees, including pine, elm, dogwood, maple tree varieties, cherry, ash, willow, magnolia and many others. Below are some of the most common tree diseases and their treatments:

Dutch Elm Tree Disease


Dutch Elm Disease has felled feature elm trees on many northeastern landscapes. As a preventive measure, specimen elm trees (Ulmus americana) can be successfully trunk injected during the spring/summer with a treatment that will prevent the development of the Dutch Elm Disease fungus for up to three years. However, this tree disease treatment is not always effective against previously infected trees.

Fruit Tree Diseases

There are specific fungal infections, as well as insect and mite activity that commonly affect orchard trees and which may impact the production of edible fruit. Zeal Property Maintenance fruit tree disease treatments follow a protocol developed by several leading universities, utilizing the minimum number of treatments required to facilitate a productive harvest.

Sycamore Anthracnose


Sycamore Anthracnose is a common tree disease that results in extensive defoliation, shoot dieback, and twig death of your sycamore trees especially when extended periods of wet weather occur in the spring. Because it is very difficult to control through conventional disease treatments, Zeal uses a macroinfusion system that will prevent infection of your sycamore specimens for two years.

Zeal can also help prevent and treat other common tree diseases including dogwood anthracnose, apple scab, cedar apple rust and more.

Call 1300882787. today for a complimentary consultation with Zeal Property Maintenance fully trained professionals and certified arborists

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Top dressing for your lawn at the beginning of the growing season

Why Topdress?

The main reason for topdressing is to level the lawn or build it up to the desired level. Topdressing fills holes or low spots and encourages the grass to spread by giving it a medium to grow in.


Successful topdressing requires a few tools and some suitable soil. A good wheelbarrow with an inflatable tyre will make wheeling the soil easier. For shoveling and spreading the soil, an aluminium shovel is priceless. A small level-lawn is also a worthwhile investment for leveling and rubbing the soil in.
Soil selection is up to you but it is best to use a soil that is consistent with the soil that the lawn is growing in. This is usually sandy type loam. I prefer use a clean sandy loam rather than some of the lawn topdressing mixes available today which may claim to contain organic matter and fertiliser. My reasons for this are that a clean soil is easier to work with, resulting in a better looking finished job and you can make more money by fertilizing your client's lawns at a later date. It is up to you as a professional lawn contractors to determine the required amount of soil that is needed to complete the job.


Before you actually spread the soil, make sure the grass is actively growing. Don't top dress dormant grass. You will damage it, if not kill it. A good idea is to give the lawn a fertilize a couple of weeks before topdressing, this will help the grass push through the soil quickly. Also, mow the lawn the day before you do the job. Long grass takes more soil to cover properly and the thicker the soil layer, the harder it is for the grass to emerge.

Doing the Job

Alright, you've fertilized, you've cut the lawn, purchased the soil and you are ready to go, but it looks like rain! DON'T DO IT! Why? Besides making a big mess, wet soil does not rub in well and can sometimes dry like a hard crust on top of the grass, making it very difficult for the grass to grow through.
Okay, now the sun is out, lets get into it. Start by spreading an even layer of soil over the lawn covering the entire area. I've seen many people topdress their lawns but only covering it roughly. If you are going to the trouble, at least make sure you do it right.

Once the lawn is completely covered, don't rush in to level it off, give it a couple of hours to dry first. This will allow you to rub in the soil more effectively and you will be able to fill up holes rather than smoothing wet soil over the top. This couple of hours will allow you to go and mow another lawn or work out what to do with any soil you have left over.

Once the soil is dry, start to rub it in with the level-lawn. This can be done in any direction, just as long as you go over the whole lawn. Pick up any excess with a shovel and make sure the job is as neat as possible. Leave the site clean and tidy. Sweep up any soil off paths and drives as clients really appreciate it and it makes you look more professional. Don't water the lawns for a couple of days. This will let the grass punch through the soil.