Learn how to get treat/get rid of those pests in your garden

Pests can be such a nuisance but with the right information you can treat them properly. Read through our FAQ’s to find some relatable issues when it comes to these silly bugs and fungi!

Contact us if your question doesn’t appear here and you would like to know more.

pests life is a garden

How do I treat the Woolly White Fly on my lemon tree?

Mulch with kraal manure, and drench with a season long systemic insecticide, after removing all lemons.

What is wrong with the oak trees? The leaves are black and dripping sticky stuff everywhere.

The trees are infested with aphids secreting honeydew, which attracts sooty mould. Feed the tree generously with organic 2-3-2 and apply systemic season long insecticide.

When do I spray my lemon tree?

You only spray a lemon tree if it is necessary, do not spray preventatively! (Should you see any sign of insects or fungus then you can spray) - hence there is not a correct time to spray. For Fungus use “funginex” alternatively for insects “oleum” is very good and natural spray. Please, note these are purely suggestions of what you can use, you might need to be more specific about what you are wanting to spray against.

I've noticed some fruit on my lemon tree. Last year the tiny fruit just disappeared. Could that have been some bug that attacked the lemons?

Generally speaking, if the fruit is not developing and falling off it could be a watering problem either too much or too little and in addition to which, feeding of fruit trees is of the utmost importance. Lemon fruit can drop due to a lack of water or lack of sufficient nutrients. It is unlikely that a bug would cause the fruit to disappear. Solution. Apply 3.1.5 fertilizer every 6 –8 weeks Water well in the dry times.

My pink Petunias have brown spots on the leaves and the petals look eaten. Any ideas?

The Petunia’s sound to me (please bear in mind without seeing them difficult to assess) like they may have a fungus, which is often brought about by watering in the heat of the day, a good idea would be to spray with any fungi side. (Also a good tip is to water in the early morning rather than in the heat, also try and not water in the later afternoon so that the plants do not go to bed with “wet feet”

I have with Canna's overtaking my garden. My garden is quite old and established. the more I take out the more they grow back with a vengeance. I cant get rid of the bulbs. Is there a product I can use or could you suggest an alternative in getting rid of them.

It sounds like it could be an invasive species of Canna, called Indian Shot. We would suggest digging deep into the garden to completely remove the rhizomes. It's important to make sure they don't set seed. If you'd prefer to go the poison route, you can pop into your nearest accredited garden centre and see what they recommend.

Please tell me how to get rid of Amaryllis caterpillar on my clivias.

These pesky worms can multiply rapidly and do great harm not only to the leaves but also to the bulb and its embryo buds. It's necessary to spray a suitable systemic insecticide to rid the bulbs of these pests. Usually 3 repeat applications are required when you have a serious infestation. We would suggest popping into your nearest accredited garden centre and see which pesticide they have available.

What is a good replacement for Tecoma Capensis because of its erratic growth?

Good replacements would be Abelia frances mason, Duranta sheena’s gold or Ligustrum ovifolium.

I have 20 cm round totally dead brown spots on my lawn. What do I do?

The brown patches on the lawn could be one of any things, generally it is a fungus. Sometimes only female dogs urine cause the lawn to discolour really do not think this could be a major cause. Maybe you should place a small wet towel on the lawn an night in the morning when you lift the towel you will see any ants or termites as they always gather together under anything that is damp (this is a very clever way to detect if you have an insect problem!!!) Dead spots on the lawn can mean a lot of things. My suggestion is to scarify that portion of the lawn and apply the fertilizer 4:1:1 with carbaspray. This will fertilizer the lawn and eradicate any worms that may be eating at the roots. Keep the lawn well aerated and watered through the heat of Jan and Feb. If there are pets (dogs or cats) keep an eye on their behaviour because their constant relieving themselves on the same spot could also lead to dead patches on the lawn.

I love agapanthus. I have 3 different shades in my garden. For some reason though they seem to be struggling. Some of the leaves have turned yellow and started rotting at the base. Do you perhaps know why?

This is common problem with agapanthus at this time of the year. They are attacked by a worm which eats its way to the core of the plant. I suggest that you spray with Garden Ripcord to get rid of the worms. If one does not spray often the worms will destroy the entire plant. The Agapanthus that have yellow leaves is generally excess water and we have an abundance of rain, the problem with too much water/rain is that it leaches out all the goodness in the soil; I would strongly suggest that you use a general fertiliser something like 3.1.5. Also do be on the lookout for any in sect activity.

The leaves of my Clivia plants are going white from the tip down. What could be the cause of this and what can you advise me?

Difficult to say without seeing the plants – however it sounds like a fungus, could you supply us with a picture of the said plant?

This is a difficult one. If the plants are in the sun (which is not ideal as they like shaded conditions) they can burn from the outside of the leaf to the middle of the leaf. If the plants are grown in the shade then the problem is more linked to water. With too little water the plants in unable to take up nutrients from the soil and distribute them to the leaves of the plant. The same happen if the roots of the plant are in a waterlogged soil which damages the roots and also prevents nutrient uptake.

I thought Vincas were classified as invasive in South Africa - please let me know (I destroy them when I see them in my garden!

No Vincas are not on the alien list – they are available at nurseries (they are divine and so easy to grow)

What does one do to avoid the stench of decaying vegetable matter especially when it's wet and slimy?

Homemade compost really should not smell – could it be that something in the compost is not breaking down (decomposing). This can happen if it is too wet .

Not long ago I bought a cat's claw plant at a local nursery in Pretoria. Why are they still selling it seeing as it is a category I invader?

The Cats Claw is definitely on the alien invasive list category 1. This mean that the plant is prohibited according to Lesley Henderson book on Alien Invaders.

I have a pompom tree just about 1m tall now and recently I have noticed the leaves wilting rapidly?...It's well mulched,well watered, and added a healthy dose of compost. any ideas what could cause this? A mole burrowing underneath perhaps?

I would not rule out the possibility that a mole might cause some damage, however you would be able to see signs of a mole, either mounds of soil or a hole? The wilting of the leaves also tells me it is VERY possibly too much or two little water? These trees do not like a great deal of water. But it could be, that there is a bacteria in the soil (a fungus) however I would rather say it is a water problem.

What do you spray roses with? Heard that dish washing liquid + water is a eco-friendly way to keep aphids at bay.

I do not think that ‘soapy water’ will help with the aphids, it might act as a deterrent. There are special sprays which have been formulated by the gurus. Pop into your local accredited Garden Centre to see what they have available.

Please help! I have onion weeds in my flower beds, trillions of them. I have dug them out with large clumps of sand around them so as not to spread the little bulbets, but they just keep coming up! How do I get rid of them?

To get rid of ‘onion weed’ - the best way to do so is to do hand eradication (to dig them out). You can also try painting each individual stem with “Round-up”. Also, always remember - to remove all the flower heads before they set seed!

Our granadilla tree is full of flowers, falling off after being open, but there does not seem to be any fruit left to grow in the cavity that the flower leaves. What can I do?

This can be one of two things – or infact both. Lack of a deep watering and also lack of phosphates. Start up a regular watering, but it must be a very deep water and feed 3.1.5. or feed with Multisol.

The botanical name for them is Cucumis sativus , variety English . On the back of the seed packet ail be instructions and guidelines as to how many days from germination before they are ready. They should be dark green colour, firm to touch when squeezed gently.

Not all lichen is harmful, quite a lot is infact very good. However it can be washed off with a stiff brush and soapy water then spray wit Funginex.

I planted Brussel sprout 4 month ago they are huge plants but Brussels are small and leafy was is to hot and should they be a winter crop?

I think you might have planted far too early, this is the time to sow - until about when it is mild in April – this weather to my mind is too hot!

Would it be possible to advise on how to get rid of wild garlic that is growing every where, in between cracks, in between plants and it is becoming just a menace.

Wild garlic (Onion Weed) is a menace and difficult to get rid of. If you can get to the plants, the best way to get rid of them is to dig them out by digging down and underneath the bulb and removing it - soil and all. If any bulblets get left behind, they will resprout. You will have to do this as soon as you see plants. If they flower, do pick the flower off to prevent seed forming. In the cracks you can use the weedkiller Roundup. Use as recommended and paint on the leaves. You might have to do this a few times before they die. Roundup will kill any plant so please be careful when using it.

How can I get rid of little green caterpillars that are eating and/or causing the new shoots & flowers on my geraniums to rot. Must be safe for my 1-year-old grandson.

Use Margaret Roberts Biological Caterpillar Insecticide.

I have dwarf snapdragons in a fairly large pot in full sun. Recently I have noticed yellow spots on the upper leaves and little brown spots in circles on the under side. I suspect it is rust. I sprayed Rosecare but don’t think it has helped.

It seems do you have rust on your snaps. Rosecare does have a fungicide in it but you would have to repeat spraying weekly. You can try Bravo or Funginex. Both are fungicides. If the rust is very bad it might be better to remove the snaps from the pot.

The cycad in our garden "flowered" and has three enormous cones. These seeds are now starting to fall as they ripen, and we would like to try and grow them from these seeds. How do we go about this? How do we check if these seeds have been pollinated? Do we need to dry out the seeds before planting? How long before they will germinate (read somewhere up to a year)?

Please remember that you need a permit for growing South African Cycads. To see if the seed is pollinated, cut the seed in half and see if an embryo is starting to grow. It will be in the middle of the seed. It can take from 6-18 months for the full embryo to develop. When planting, soak the seed in water for 2 days. You will need a light, well drained soil. Plant half the seed in the soil and keep the soil moist. Place the seed in a warm spot.

I have a lot of spiders and snails in my garden. How can I get rid of them? I have used snail pellets but to no avail.The spiders are affecting my tomatoes. How do I get rid of ants around the house too? I have used blue powder - they disappear and come back again full force.

Snails can be a problem and you would have to continue using the pellets. You also get a liquid snail pesticide that you can spray with, called Snailflo. You can get an aerosol that you can use to kill spiders. Try Fendona to get rid of the ants around the house.

I have yellow hibiscus in a large pot. When I cut off a thick stem I noticed a brown spot and when I slit the stem I found a white worm in the stem. I have a similar problem with a rose (also in a pot), but when I was pruning this rose I noticed the stem was hollow and when I slit the stem lengthwise I found powdery stuff inside the stem. Is this borer? Another problem is the fruit on the mango tree. We have a variety of huge mango but they are not edible and there are stings on the fruit and then the fruit is full of worms. I think this might be fruit fly. I needed to find out what I should spray on these plants, when I should spray and how often should I spray?

It is difficult to get rid of a worm in the stems, other than cutting the stem off below the spot/hole where the worm has entered. For the rose, prune back the stem until it shows no hole and seal the stem with a sealer. Start spraying the mangoes as soon as the fruit has formed with Garden Ripcord and continue spraying as per instructions with the insecticide.

We have both a Lemon and Lime tree and they are about 35 plus years old. I have no idea how to take care of them and they look a bit neglected, the fruit are small and the trees had curled up leaves and what looked like bubbles on them. I gave both trees Koinor and it looks like it is working but there is still some curling and bubbles. The trunk of the trees looks like there is more then one tree growing and not a lot of leaves at the top (the trees look old) What must I do, do I gut these extra stumps of and try and get the trees to look healthy again or do I remove them and start over with new trees. I also notice some white fluffy stuff on the leaves.

If the trees look really bad and are full of disease it might be wise to remove them. If you want to keep them prune all dead wood out and prune the tops shorter, this should encourage new growth. Remove all other trunks and retain the main trunk. Once you have new growth and still have leaf curl, spray with Koinor again. The fluffy stuff could be Australian bug spray with Oleum.

What is the cause of "Lychen" growing on branches? How can it be removed as it definitely does eventually kill the branch. I scrub it off but obviously cannot reach top branches.

They say that Lychen growing on branches is a sign of clean air. It is difficult to remove and besides rubbing it off as you do you could spray with Dithane, unfortunately you still won’t be able to reach the top branches.

Can someone please give me advice on how to germinate peony papaver: “poppy” seeds?

Plant the poppy seeds in autumn in fine composted soil. Water well, wait until the surface has dried, then water again. Do not let the seed dry out. They should start germinating after 7 days.

I would love to plant some tomatoes, lettuce and spring onions, but we have such a plague of monkeys. I have some stunning Lavender bushes, Bleeding Heart & Jasmine Creepers. Would I be able to plant any of that underneath and between these plants to hide it from the monkey's?

The lettuce and spring onions will grow in the shade. The tomatoes need the sun.

I have a huge snail problem.. I don't like using pesticides. Any natural or hacks I could try?
Also, I have fennel growing everywhere and in huge bushes, do I just cut some branches off? Some tips are turning yellow?

Sprinkle crushed egg shells around the plants, use sandpaper - snails don’t like the rough surface. Trap them with beer in a shallow container, they will crawl in and drown. If you are able to get seaweed put that around the plants. An organic spray with garlic in it will also deter them. You can cut the fennel short and it will send out new shoots again. The yellowing of the tips could be overwatering or bad drainage.

bout 3 months ago we installed a wattle garden screen along our one boundary wall and I have recently notices tiny holes and very fine powder on some of the posts. I think it may be some sort of borer beetle. Does this pose a danger to the screening and more importantly does it pose a danger to my trees and shrubs? I would like to treat the wood with something to kill the infestation but I do not want to risk dangerous chemicals leaching into my soil and damaging my garden. Please help!

It sounds as if it could be a borer beetle. If the wattle wood was not treated before the screen was put up it could be a problem. Do visit a hardware store and ask them what you can use. Yes, do be careful not getting any chemicals on the ground.

How to make a Brunfelsia flower more? I have been feeding it Multisol K irregularly, maybe that's why - not often enough?

Brunfelsia has a main flowering period in spring and then flowers sporadically thereafter. Brunfelsia like to grow in light shade in rich moist soil that is acidic. Water well in summer and less in winter. Mulch with an acidic mulch. Feed regularly.

My 3 meter hedge doesn't have any leaves on the inside AND the plant is full of white soft fluffy aphids. I've cut it way back on the one side to see if will grow out again. What is the best insecticide that I can spray it with at this stage and will it grow back again?

The Viburnum hedge doesn’t have leaves on the inside as it is getting too little light. Spray the aphids with Oleum, add a sticker(dishwashing liquid) to get it to stick to the insects. It should grow out again, it might take a while. Try and water the hedge if possible.

My Gardenia bush is beautiful on 1 side, but drying out on the opposite side. Also she's full of “white something”. How do I fix this?

Gardenia like to grow in well drained, moist soil. They need to be watered well, but not overwatered. Do not let the soil dry out. Check that the bush is getting water all round it. It could be hot and dry on the one side, causing it to die. Prune the dead branches out. If the “white something” is like a powder then it is a fungus - spray with a fungicide. If it is an insect (when touched it should be alive) then spray with an insecticide.

The top of my cypress tree is drying,and both of them have little branches dry. Trees not looking healthy.

Your cypress tree could have been attacked by Italian cypress aphid. Cut the dry branches off and spray with Aphicide or work Insecticide Granules into the soil. You might have to repeat spray.

My lawn has been invaded by a type of weed that I can call an ONION WEED, which spread rapidly after rain. I suspect it was carried by the trimmers that were used by grasscutters I hired for my lawn. Which weed killer can you recommend? Removing it proves futile - the stem is soft and that bulb remains underneath and grows again.

The Onion Weed is horrible. You can try and dig up each plant, removing the whole bulb. (Back breaking work). You can use the weed killer Roundup by painting the leaves with it, but be warned - it kills any plant/lawn that gets any on it. You may have to repeat painting.

I am renting and was given strict instruction to maintain the 30 odd rose bushes. This black spot began at the beginning of summer - now leaves are going yellow as well. I have been removing these off leaves (back breaking) and have sprayed with vinegar/water mix, to no avail and it is spreading to the other bushes. What is the cause and how do I repair? Also spreading to other plants?

Black spot is a fungus that is caused by damp weather and if not controlled can spread. It is good that you are removing the leaves. Spray with a fungicide like Funginex or Rosecare. You will have to spray at weekly intervals until you have it under control.

My lemon tree was pruned by a so called landscaper and ever since, it has never beared fruit. Prior to that, the lemons were always blooming and healthy. It is an old tree; what can I do?

If it is an old tree and was pruned back hard, it could take some time to start flowering again. Feed the tree with a 3:1:5 fertiliser at least 4 times a year. Water well and regularly.

I woke the other morning to tiny mounds of earth on my lawn what causes this?

It could be Mole Crickets or earthworms.

My roses, especially the miniature ones, are infested with aphids. I have tried spraying with rosecare and have used aphicide but no luck. One of the rosegrowers said I should not use these as the aphids mutate. Is this true? The leaves are small; I have used rapid raiser to fertilise but this has not worked. My fuchsia which I had grown from a cutting, died when I potted it in a hanging basket and hung it under shade. Please advise.

It is said that the insects get used to the insecticide and it is not effective then. Try using Koinor for the aphids. Roses need to be fertilised at least once a month with a fertiliser good for roses. Try Ludwigs Vigorosa fertiliser. The fuchsia cutting should have good roots when potting it in well drained, compost enriched soil. Water well. Do not let the soil dry out. Planting the cutting in a hanging basket and keeping it in the shade is correct.

In our complex the cycads are getting white, like a fungus - what must we do? The cycads are, what I say, on the wrong place where is far too much wind. Could that be the cause of the fungus? I am curious for your answer and look forward to it!

If the cycads you have are Cycas revoluta, they prefer to grow in the shade or semi-shade in well drained, compost enriched soil. Water regularly but do not over water. Wind should not affect the plant. If it is a fungus on the cycad, spray with Funginex or Bravo.

I have a selection of the following weeds in my garden: Alternanthera pungens · Khaki weed, Kakiedubbeltjie · Goosegrass (silver crabgrass, silver foot, crows foot grass) · Bermudagrass · Nimblewill · Common Purslane (A) — Portulaca oleracea · Mouseear Chickweed (P) — Cerastium vulgatum · Perennial Sowthistle (P) — Sonchus arvensis · Redroot Pigweed (A) — Amaranthus retroflexus · Bull Thistle (B) — Cirsium vulgare Which type of herbicide will work best for eradication? Is it safe to use herbicides on my lawn/plants when I have dogs? Is there any proven natural herbicide that I should rather use if I have dogs?

You could use Banweed MCPA for the weeds. I am sorry I cannot say whether it is safe for animals. I don’t know of any natural herbicide.Perhaps you would like to contact Efekto Care for some advice, as follows:

What is the appropriate contact insecticide for lily borer on clivias and what are the risks for bees?

You can use Garden Ripcord, I use Karbaspray - that works for me. A natural insecticide is Eco Natural insecticide.

Waited two seasons for my white#agapanthusafricanus to flower. It’s finally made its appearance, despite being infested with caterpillars. Any homemade, chemical free remedies I can try? I often have frogs living in the leaves, and don’t want to harm them.

You can use Eco Natural Insecticide.

Can I spray oleum on lemon trees with fruit?

Yes you can. Wash the fruit well when you pick them. Oleum is a mineral oil.

My lawn is dying in some patches, yet green in others. I'm sure it's not lack of water. Poured soapy water onto a patch and plenty worms and tiny black beetles came to the surface. What could I treat/ spray the lawn with?

Treat the lawn with Wonder 4:1:1 with Karbaspray. This feeds the lawn and kills the worms.

I live in Kraaifontein which is in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. I have a problem with alien wasps which are busy killing my lawn. I can see them hover above the leaves and my lawn's roots are almost all over yellow and dry. What can I use to get rid of them? I also noticed that most of the lawns in my neighbourhood are also infected with brown and dried out roots spots.

I am not sure it is the wasps that is killing the lawn. It could be worms. Try Wonder 4:1:1 with Karbakill

How do you keep deer from eating lilies and other garden flowers?

Unless you can keep the deer out of the garden, there is no way you can stop them eating your plants.

Please advise what the best treatment is for grubs in the soil and how they get there? I took out something like 50 in a small wooden container which I want to use to plant herbs!

It could be the Chafer beetle laying its eggs in the soil. The grubs eat organic material. Treat the soil with Margaret Roberts organic insecticide.

What product should I spray rose bushes with after I have pruned and removed all leaves end of July. I currently have serious mildew and black leaf disease

Spray with Lime Sulphur.

We have inherited a lovely orchard on a farm in Nottingham Road, as you know it is very cold here. We have apples, plums, peaches, pomegranate, quince, citrus and nut trees. If we don't spray the fruit is just full of worms, would you be able to tell us what to spray on the trees, and how often. I seem to jump from one piece of advice to the next and nothing really works. We went to Agricare who gave us a hormone droplet to put on the leaves for fruit fly and it never really worked either. I would appreciate your advice. 

After pruning your deciduous fruit trees spray them with Lime Sulphur, then spray the trees with Garden Ripcord at 75% petal drop and again 4 weeks later.

At what stage of apricot blossoms should I spray pesticide. Gauteng

When 75% of the petals have dropped.

Please advise me what is the best way to get rid of white flies, they are found on my verbenas, Barberton daisies and various other plants in my garden in Gonubie East London
. I would appreciate your advise as I am desperately trying to get rid of these pests
. Eastern Cape

White flies are difficult to get rid of. Spray with Efekto White Fly Insecticide as per instructions. You would need to spray 3-4 times to control them. If they are very bad rather remove the plants and destroy them as white flies do spread rapidly.

What product is used to spray peach trees? Gauteng

Garden Ripcord can be used for fruit flies.

Good Morning. I just wondered if Malasol can also be sprayed on my spinach I have planted. Thank you. Gauteng

Yes you can spray with Malasol.

How do I control aphids on my roses which are growing in an oak barrel
? How do I treat die back on the stems of the roses. I have tried Rose Protector and Rosecare but no luck. Can you give me a home made recipe for dealing with my woes? KZN

Try Ludwig’s Insect Spray and Rose Protector or Chronos.

I have a self-sown nectarine tree in the garden which blossoms and produces fruit but the fruit is soon riddled with goggas. I try to be as "organic" as possible but can you recommend a spray and a regime to beat the goggas please. Western Cape

Try this: 500ml cold drink bottles. Make holes in them at the top no larger than 1cm. Add 50ml of the following: 125ml fruit juice, 125ml water, 1tablespoon jam, ½ teaspoon yeast. Mix and add to bottles. Hang around infested trees or sink into the ground. Mixture will have to be replaced weekly.

I recently planted a cheese wood and have noticed that there are a lot of ants on the tree. Is there cause for concern? I don't want the ants to kill my tree. Gauteng

You have probably got aphids or scale on the tree. Spray the tree with Oleum to get rid of the scale and use an ant insecticide to get rid of the ants.

I stay in an area with a very good soil. Two years ago my mom tried to grow lawn it was so green and looked healthy until termites started destroying it. From that time nothing from my mom's yard ever survived. we tried all the chemical we got from the supermarket but none of them were effective. What are the most effective ways or chemicals that we can use to destroy these insects (termites)? Limpopo

Try Efekto Kamikaze, Bayer Baythion Liquid or Kombat Termites.

I have a lot of millipedes in my garden both black and red ones. Do they do much damage to plants and if so what can I use to get rid of them. KZN

Millipedes like moist wet spots. Keep the garden dry and they slowly disappear.

What can I do to eradicate "christmas beetles" that are, at night, chewing up my roses leaves and my beans leaves! Gauteng

Spray with Karbaspray.

Whats the best natural spray or plant could be used to prevent insects from eating through a vegetable garden?Gauteng

Try Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide.

Please can you give me advice as to how to get rid of the white sticky bug that gives of a red sticky substance (my friends call it cosenile???) on my lemon tree leaves .... PLEASE. Bronkhorstspruit

Spray the tree with Oleum.

My bean plants are being eaten to death by a copper coloured beetles that comes at night and consume the leaves. I have been out with a torch and crushed all the beetles I could find but this is not a long term solution. I have been advised that the beetles are rose beetles and I have read about a remedy of creating a trap for rose beetles which comprises a plastic bottle painted yellow with sugar water to attract the beetles. I am advised that it isn't a rose beetle as it is too small and the carapace is not as hard as a rose beetle. I noticed that several beetles were in pairs, one on the back of the other. Can you identify the beetles and suggest a remedy?

It looks like a Chafer Beetle (Christmas Beetle) they do come out at night and burrow into the ground during the day. You could spray the plants with Malathion or Karbaspray.

Hi, my potatoes are surrounded by too many ants, how bad is that and what can I use to get rid of them without damaging my plants? Gauteng

Use Antrap which is a bait and wont damage the plants.

My lemon tree has been infected with white aphids very badly, last winter I trimmed all the branches and now new shoots are also being affected. I did spray disinfectant but in vain, please help me. Gauteng

Try spraying with Efekto Plant Protector.

Worms are killing my clivias! Please help. Gauteng

Spray with Garden Ripcord or Karbaspray. See that the insecticide goes down the centre of the Clivia.

White ants have eaten a patch of grass that is not very big. I have now taken all the grass out and would like to know what I treat the ground with, before I plant grass again?

You can spray with Kamikaze

I have a severe Stinkbug infestation on my Gardenia volkensii. Although the tree seems to be fine it does not flower at all in November. Any organic solution? It is possible to handpick them off but they are wily and it takes much time. No other plants in the garden seem to be infected.

Try Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide

We have worms in our garden (on the grass). Green worms. How can I treat (save!) my grass? Gauteng

Spray with Karbasol.

What is the white wooly stuff I find on my Olive tree and is it harmful? Western Cape

Woolly aphid will spread if it is not controlled and will harm the tree in time. Spray with Oleum.

What would you suggest for controlling and preferably eliminating the (amarylis?) caterpillar on orange river lilies??

Spray with Karbasol.

How to get rid of white fly and wooly aphids on fuchsias and petunias? Gauteng

If the white fly and aphids are bad on the petunias it is better to remove the plant and destroy it. Cut the fuchsia back and spray with white fly insecticide and Oleum for the wooly aphids. Both plants like air circulation around them.

We have black sooty mould on the trees in our complex. Please can you advise or point me in the right direction of how we can fix this? Gauteng

If you have sooty mould on the trees you will have scale or aphids on the trees. Use an insecticide to kill the insects.

I have a naartjie tree...but some of the leaves have pimples.. What can I do?

It is called psylla. Spray with Cypermethrin

I live in GP "ekurhuleni" I have a small veg garden, I planted tomatoes, potatoes and spinach: my problem is that ants eat roots of my spinach and it has some black spots on it I don't know how to save my beloved spinach. Can you please advise on what to do?

Use an insecticide to kill the ants and spray the leaves with Copper Count N for the black spots.

Kindly tell me the best trees to plant around the house to keep away flies and mosquitoes. Gauteng

Plant up the following insect-repellent plants in a large clay pot: Lemon grass, rosemary, lavender, mint and lemon thyme. This way, you can move the pot around and keep insects at bay, wherever you are sitting! Add seedlings of bright orange French Marigold for welcoming colour. For the flies, you could also try a few carnivorous plants, like the Venus fly-catcher

My witstinkhout tree has developed a black fungus. The leaves are turning yellow then black and dropping. The trunk also has the same blackness. If I rub the trunk with my hand, a black soot like substance rubs off.
 The tree was planted about two years ago in Sandton Gauteng.

The fungus is called sooty mould. The tree has scale or aphids on it that secrete a sticky substance. You must get rid of the insects first by spraying with an insecticide. Once you have got rid of the insects you can wash the mould off, add a drop of detergent to the water when spraying, you might have to do this more than once.

I am struggling with black spot on geranium in a pot. flower buds seem to be parasitized too. please advise? should I mix manure with compost before putting onto all flowerbeds? Western Cape

Spray with Bravo or Funginex. If bad cut the geranium back. You can mix manure if it is well decomposed with the compost.

I had the most beautiful spinach, but lately something is eating the leaf so no use to me. What can I spray it with?

It looks like a chafer beetle. Spray with an organic insecticide or karbaspray

Hi, I have ants and I think worms killing my lawn, is there anything I can use to stop it? Western Cape

If you have worms on the lawn, feed the lawn with a 4:1:1 fertiliser with Karbaspray (this will kill the worms). Use an insecticide for the ants.

I am asking on behalf of my mom. Her lemon tree has 'krulblaar'. Is there any natural treatments for this problem as she does not want to use any pesticides on the tree. The tree is big and has lots of lemons.

Spray with Oleum which is a mineral oil.

We live in a cottage on a farm just outside Empangeni, Natal and have planted a very small patch of beans just for ourselves. However, we noticed that they were not doing so well, so I pulled a few out and saw that the roots were full of nematodes. What can we use to get rid of this and how do we go about it?

Planting Marigolds helps to get rid of nematodes. The use of lots of well decomposed compost also helps.

I have a tree which, I was told when the landscaper planted it, was named White Ironwood Tree. This has red and black seeds (the red bit sits like a helmet on the top of the black seed). The shiny leaves have secreted a sticky blackish substance which has resulted in plants under the tree also being blackened. I can send a photo of the tree, leaf and seed if you feel you are able to help me. I would love to rid the tree of this 'ínfection'.
I may mention that one of my cacti beneath the tree has also been blackened by the infestation. I am not able to remove this!
We have treated the tree with Efekto Insecticide Granules Plus as instructed. First application about 4 weeks ago.
I guess that if I must get rid of the tree, so be it, although it would be nice to keep it!

It is scale - spray with Oleum. Check if there are ants and use an insecticide for ants. Use the Inseciticide Granules Again.

My lemon tree leaves have yellow spots? Mpumalanga

Spray with Oleum.

I'm struggling with cutworms - all over my garden, can you help with a cure (other than coming out at night to find them!). I try to use organic stuff, and I try to make my own compost - but seem to have an infestation all over the place..... my garden is pretty big. I'd love some recommended stuff to use. Gauteng

Try Margaret Roberts Organic Caterpillar Insecticide

My new rose shoots seem to be dying... stems drying out and even odd flowers dying. Been spraying rose care...leaves dying...what else can I try please? Western Cape

It could be a fungus. Prune all affected stems off and spray with Chronos 450 SC

I have hydrangea which looks rusty and moulded. How do I get rid of this?

Spray with a fungicide like Bravo

What are the names of contact insecticides for brassica plants? Gauteng

Try Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide

What can be applied to aloe leaves to remove the white fluffy lice? Gauteng


Use Oleum.

I planted some round tomatoes and there is this "gogga" that lays eggs inside them and they just die my entire plot is just a waste. Also my tomato trees are just drying out although I water them religiously. It starts out like a web in the leaves and then the leaves start to turn brown until there is nothing. Please help. KZN

It could be bacterial canker - spray with a fungicide that contains copper oxychloride. Worse, it could be tomato spotted wilt - you then have to remove the plants and destroy them.

What is best to use for a Pink Banksia rose the is forever covered in mildew? Use Rosecare but not effective. HELP. Gauteng

Try Chronos.

We have  had an uphill struggle to get rid of the ants and aphids on our citrus.
 We have tried ant poison. As well as all kinds of natural home made sprays.
 Our trees are full of fruit, and this started when they only started with the 
blossoms. Since we have been feeding the trees since November they are 
bearing lots of fruit but even before November we have been battling. We found the trees in the veld which are neglected do not have ants, and they are covered in fruit as well. Do we water our trees too much.? We are here in Limpopo on our holiday farm. Please give us advice for a natural remedy. I do not want to use insecticide.

The ants are on the tree because the aphids secrete a sticky substance. Get rid of the aphids first - use Oleum (a mineral oil) to spray with.

Something is munching our raspberry leaves. Please can you help? I checked the plant now but cannot find any insects. 
Last week my husband flicked off a brown stink bug. Could that be the offender? If so, what should we do? We are not keen to use insecticide sprays.

Try Margaret Roberts Caterpillar Insecticide

My Dymondia Margaretae has white patches of flattened leaves that spread outwards. There seem to be some fluffy bits so I think its a fungus. It's not the same white patches as in summer (which I believe is from leather worm (?)) eating the roots. Last winter I had the same problem and sprayed with a mix of vinegar and water which did stop the spreading but also killed the dymondia. Any ideas as to what it is and an organic way to stop it? The dymondia gets very little sun in winter and I haven't fertilised it since i planted it 4 years ago. Western Cape

It could be mealy bug, try spraying with Oleum (it is a mineral oil) that should smother the bugs.

How do we get rid of dodders? KZN

Pull the dodders off the plant or cut off the branches covered in it. Burn it when you have removed it.

My nectarine tree is flowering at what stage do I spray worms and subsequent spraying. I also have peach, apricot, plum, fig, naartje, lemon, orange, pomegranate (one of each as I have a small orchid space? KZN

Once 75% of the blossoms have fallen off you can start spraying. The same applies to the apricot, peach and plum. Lemon, orange and pomegranate don’t have to be sprayed for worms.

I live in a town house in Morning hill Bedfordview, I am and have always been a keen gardener. My kikuyu lawn, for the first time in years, has developed round bare almost dead patches. I have no idea what the reason is nor do I know what to do about it. It looks very much like a disease. Your advice would be much appreciated. Gauteng

It could be a fungal disease. Spray with a fungicide that has Copper Oxychloride in it. Check that the lawn is not compacted in spots. Water in the morning. Fertilize regularly.

What is the most effective insecticide for mole crickets? Gauteng


What do I spray my peach and apricot trees with. They are both flowering with one of the peach trees with small fruit. Gauteng

Lebaycid or Efekto Eco fruit fly bait

How to get rid of pests and diseases if you don't have money to buy fungicide? and how to replant without damaging the plant? So far i have notice that there are snail that are sucking the leaves of the plant, there are no diseases yet.. Also, how to transplant with out damaging the roots of veggies? Last month planted Pumpkin, Carrots, Beans, Onion and Beetroot so i want to know how to transplant them and if is the right time to transplant them? Western Cape

It is better to plant pumpkin, carrots, beans and beetroot directly into the vegetable bed as they are difficult to transplant. If you have to transplant the pumpkin and beans, try and get as much soil around the roots of the seedling and plant it into your bed. Gently remove the carrot and beet seedlings and plant them. The onion seedlings when big enough can be removed and planted out. A garlic spray can be used for pests and milk for fungus

I am looking for a pet friendly weed killer to spray onto the brick paving at the front of my house.I have tried a number of products but they have adverse effects on my two dogs.I have tried vinegar which does work but the weeds return within a few weeks. Western Cape

Vinegar as mentioned, Boiling water, Salt.

I need help please. Staying with kids and their garden is full of millipedes and the white cutworm. I'm not into all the poison anymore; what can I use?

Use Protek Knox Worm for the cutworm. Millipedes like moist wet soil. Keep the garden dry and they slowly disappear.

Can you please help with info / advice re heliconia (pest). I was informed to use 'active ingredient' Mancozeb and or Metalaxyl, but don't seem to find it here... Any idea what is it / the product in SA?

Dithane contains mancozeb (Dithane is a fungicide).

How do I get rid of the Olive Beetle (Agropistes Olea) on my Olive Trees? Eastern Cape

You could try Malasol or Karbaspray

Can you please advise on how to avoid black spots "which may have been caused by bugs" on an Apricot fruit tree as from immature stage to a mature apricot fruit. We have been harvesting our apricots with black spots for about 6 year without using any chemicals. Maybe you may also advise which chemical I may start using. The Fruit is now on two weeks stage after blossom. Eastern Cape.

Protek Kemprin

How do I get rid of Pyslla on my lemon tree? Wandah, Gauteng

Spray with Oleum

We've got a fig tree with a lot of figs, unfortunately we can never find even one fig without worms in. How can we prevent worms so that we can enjoy its delicious fruit? Preferable an organic type solution. T

Try Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide

Any cure for the fig tree borer? Western Cape

If it is a small infestation a long piece of wire can be pushed down the tunnels to kill the borer. You can use a systemic insecticide like Complete 350SC, Koinor or Aphicide Plus. You cannot eat any fruit for 3 months after using. If the infestation is very bad it is better to remove the tree.

We have a few proteas where the flower heads develop fully but don't open and rot on the stem. What causes this and how do we fix it please? Western Cape

It could be a fungus spray with a systemic fungicide. Check the drainage of the soil. Do not over water.

I've recently had a aphid problem (so I thought) on my hot peppers and pepper plants. They ate most of the leaves within 2 days and I had to cut them all off. I handled the aphid problem with a soapy water and onion/garlic spray which did take the aphids away, I haven’t seen any on my plants since. But the problem Is the my leaves are still getting eaten and now my plants have dropped their flowers. What could this be as its definitely not aphids. And I cant physically see any bugs on my plants. I really don’t want to start using chemicals as I pride myself of organic gardening. In 3 years i've never had this issue or at least not this bad. Also note, this bug only attacks my peppers, it doesn’t touch my other plants (tomato, basil, eggplants etc).

Try spraying with Margaret Roberts Biological Caterpillar Insecticide.

I see now my figtree's leaves are curling up. Can somebody pls advice me what to do?

Check if there are mites/insects in the leaves and spray with an insecticide.

My gaura lindheimeri bushes are collapsing. It appears that some pest is boring into the stems causing them to be weak and simply break off when I investigate. These bushes grow lush and healthy in my garden, I would like to eradicate what the problem is ASAP. Gauteng

Spray with a systemic insecticide like Protek Meridian or Garden Ripcord

I have whiteflies in my fuchsias, how do I get rid of them? Gauteng

Spray with Protek Complete 350SC or Protek Kemprin

I have an infestation of mealy bug and an annual problem with fruit fly on my citrus trees - grapefruit and lemon. What will help me to rid the trees of these pests.? Western Cape

Spray the mealy bug with Oleum and for the fruit fly use Protek Kemprin

I have a plant in my garden growing beautifully until now. We call it in Afrikaans (Hotnots Vy). It makes a bright pink flower. It has a white fungus on the leaves and where this appears it now shows round like spots on the leaves. So far is hasn't died. What must I use to kill this fungus before it takes over the whole lot. We water these plants twice a week. Bloemfontein

It looks like your Hotnot Vy (Carpobrotus) has an insect infestation spray with Complete 350 SC and a fungus use Protek Systemic Fungicide. It is a succulent so only water it when the soil is dry.

I love hydrangeas...but my leaves get mildew and some fall off. My Hydrangea is in a pot.. I give it Hydrangea's got blooms but the leaves curl & has like a white mildew on them..I don't no what I'm doing wrong? KZN

Hydrangeas like to grow in well drained soil. They like to be watered well but not over watered. They like to grow in dappled shade or morning sun afternoon shade. Spray the mildew with a systemic fungicide.

Please could you advise what strength of Koinor to use as a drench around very mature trees infected with sooty mould? I love your emails and garden advice. Gauteng

You should use as per instructions on-pack. The only drench our experts know of is 2ml per 10l water and that is for roses

Our tip on social media: Coastal Gardening: Did you know that snails don't like parsley? That is why it is a good reason to plant miles of parsley between, or as a border around lettuces, green beans or Swiss chard to protect them.": "Thanks! Parsley good for sunny spots. What about something for more shady spots? Parsley’s not happy! We’ve also encountered, for the first time in 13 years!, these big green with white stripes worms on chili plants and elephant ear plants... What to do plse? Just use normal worm spray? Though we don't want to harm the many lizards we have..."

Normal worm spray would work or use Margaret Roberts Caterpillar Organic Spray. It is said that ferns, aquilegias and euphorbias will deter snails in the shade

Hello. Can u recommend a suitable insecticide for my Moth Orchid. They seem to be terribly infected by all sorts of bugs :-( Gauteng

Spray with Protek Complete 350 SC Inseciticde.

What bait does one use for pumpkin fly?

Eco Fruit Fly Bait

Any advice on the beetle which chomps the rose petals and leaves? Christmas beetles?

Catch them by hand and drown them in a jug of water. You can try spraying with Karbaspray

Is there a natural spray to prevent/stop fruit flies on fruit trees?

Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide, Ludwigs Insect Spray, Efekto Eco Fruitfly Bait

We have a large cacti bearing yellow flowers & prickly pear fruits after. It is an invader from India. Too much thorns to go anywhere near it. I want to get rid of it completely. We are busy replacing all plants with indigenous plants that hardly need any water or pruning. Please help? Western Cape

A weed killer that has monosodium methanearsonate or glyphosate in can be injected into the stems, the only other way is to chop it down.

I have bought Terminex 350 SC 50 ml for the treatment of white ants eating my precious Purple Rose plant. It had been previously been attacked by white ants but survived. Its a 6 year old plant and recently transplanted when I relocated, very successful and had since flowered. I see nothing on the leaflet of using this poison on plants - it mention buildings etc. Can you please advise, I do not want to kill my rose. It was quite expensive, I paid R250 for the Terminex 350 SC. KZN

Terminex 350 SC is used to kill wood termites. I wouldn’t use it on the rose. Rather use Knox Ant

What can I spray my veggie garden with to stop snails and other creatures demolishing it completely. KZN

Try Biogrow Ferramol Snail and Slug bait for the snails and spray with Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide for other insects.

Which is the most cost effective lily borer insecticide? Gauteng

You can try Garden Ripcord, Kombat Garden Insects, Eco Insect Control

My lawn has been receding a huge amount at the edges – there is just soil left where there was lawn! Even where the lawn is in the sun it has receded vastly over just a couple of weeks, and in spite of good rain. Can it be an insect problem? – I have seen the odd  very large ant. Gauteng

It could be an insect problem. Try feeding the lawn with Efekto Wonder 4:1:1 with insecticide.

My marigolds have been attacked by small white insect, that lives under the leaf and destroys the leaves. I have tried a solution of chilli garlic and dishwasher liquid to no avail. What can I do? Western Cape

Try spraying with Protek Complete 350 SC

I have thorny weed growing in my lawn, how can I get rid of them, please advise. Gauteng

Spray with Protek Super Lawnweeder

We have five olive trees which are about three years old now. The first year after planting they had plenty of fruit and we enjoyed a good crop. Since then the trees get a lot of blossoms but then most fall off and we're left with very little fruit. The leaves also seem to go curly. Reading the tips on the blog I see Oleum is used a lot on fruit trees. Would this help in my case? Western Cape

You can use Oleum or try Protek Complete 350 SC. Water the trees well especially when flowering and setting fruit.

Can u kindly advise me what I can use for Roses??? The leaves seem to be infected with insects and now they tackling the roses too!

Koinor is a systemic insecticide for insects and spray with Rose Protector for black spot.

Worms eating my plants and lemon tree. What can I do? Western Cape

Spray with Protek Knox Worm.

Keep getting fungus on my Barberton Daisies. Have used Funginex but has not cleared up the problem. Could I try Koinor? Please feel free to give me advice. They do not get excess water. Gauteng

Koinor is an insecticide. Try Chronos 450 SC or Tenazole 250 EW

My arum lilies' leaves are getting eaten by a bug of sorts and end up looking like lace - what is doing this? Gauteng

It could be a worm. Spray with a systemic insecticide.

For the last two years our Apricot tree has been infested by fruit flies and we lose the whole crop. This year I put "Fruit Fly Traps" (Apple cider vinegar a few drops of washing up liquid, with Cling Film over the top stuck down with cellotape, I used a large pin to make the holes). The traps (three) had a lot of flies in them, yet all the fruit was again infested and dropping. Do I now cut the tree down as I cant seem to get rid of this pest? Gauteng

Spray the tree with Lime Sulphur in July and start spraying for fruit flies at petal drop once they are flowering and then use your fruit fly traps as the fruit gets bigger.

My lawn which was stunning, now has huge brown patches and round brown spots? Gauteng

It could be a fungus. Try spraying with Banner Maxx 11 Fungicide

My entire Spinach crop has been destroyed by a tiny green worm. The Spinach plants are about 200mm in height so maybe there is a chance that I can rectify the issue if you would be so kind to recommend a solution that is environmentally green and also not harmful for human consumption or /guinea pigs eating. It would be highly appreciated. Cape Town

Try spraying with Margaret Roberts Biologically Caterpillar Insecticide

I have a conifer about 20 metres high with brown patches mainly at the bottom. What can I do to clear this?

You could have Italian cypress aphid. As your tree is so large work Insecticide granules into the soil. If possible cut out the branches with brown patches.

What is it when on a citrus tree (lime) and on an azalea the branches slowly die back from the tips. I keep on cutting but eventually the plant gets smaller and smaller as the die-back appears at another part of the plant. So basically from the tips backwards the wood is suddenly dry. Hope you can help. Looking forward to your response. Gauteng

You could have a root fungal disease causing the dieback. Drench the soil with a systemic fungicide

Can you please help me with the following? Our lawn is being attacked by some aggressive weeds (with small round leaves). What would you recommend I use to get rid of this pest….! Our peach tree produces plenty of fruits, but they all fall off after a while and have a disease which oozes some sap like stuff. What would you recommend I apply to prevent this? Gauteng

Use the herbicide Versus from Protek for the lawn. In spring once the blossoms have dropped spray with Knox Worm or Garden Ripcord

We are battling to get rid of white leave clover on the grass and in the flower beds. We even used the vinegar, dishwashing liquid, salt and Epsom salt mixture but still they survive. Any advice? Mpumalanga

Try spraying with Protek Versus herbicide

The plants seem healthy. lazy house wife beans - they give me an abundance of beans up until 3/4 months and then they are taken over by a kind of black aphid which then kills off the plant. I'm using dish washing liquid to stem this but unfortunately not successful. Trying to stay green and chemical free. Please advise. Gauteng

Try Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide

I have started to notice little sand mounds in my yard over the past few weeks (Pic1). When I remove the sand, I notice holes. 
Today I got home around 5:30pm, I noticed these insects around the holes. They were burrowing into the holes, taking down blades of grass.
 Around these mounds, the area has been stripped of grass and there is just soil. 
From a brief sighting of these bugs, I can confirm there are about 6 legs with 2 antenna in front, with a rather large black head.
 All of them had the same markings.
 There were younger ones, but they seemed to be all white in colour. 
I did manage to trap a few of these bugs in a bottle. Please help me, the bare patches of soil is unsightly & I have a little Daschund, I don’t want any harm to come to him. 
If you could please help me identify these bugs & advise how I can get rid of them.

It looks like harvester termites. Use Kamikazi or Protek's Termite Stop (it is a bait) to get rid of them

I have a small home veggie garden. I found red spider mite on the tomatoes during the dry hot period. It died after being sprayed. Will the plants recover from the set back they experienced?

The tomatoes might die if they were badly infested and there is no new growth

I have a few lettuce seedlings that I have planted into a Planter box. I have now noticed this past week or so, that something is eating the outside leaves. I have checked for worms, etc but cannot see anything. Have you any ideas what "it" might be, and how to control/get rid of them? KZN

We're not entirely sure of what it could be, without seeing the critters, but try spraying with Margaret Roberts Organic Insecticide

What must I use to get rid of mole crickets in my lawn? Gauteng

Try Protek Meridian

My butterfly orchids have on ongoing problem with mealie bugs. Every fortnight I seem to have to rub it off using cotton wool wetted with rubbing alcohol, but its now becoming chronic. I have never resorted to using systemic poisons, but wondered whether this is what I shall need to consider to kill off any further infestations of the mealie bug.
Have you any advice to offer me please?

Use Oleum which is a mineral oil that smothers the bugs or a systemic insecticide like Protek Alphatrin

How do I get rid of "miswurms" in a compost heap/container apart from picking them out by hand? Gauteng

You can use Bexadust powder on them, but it might be better to remove them by hand.

We live in mtunzini north coast. Our flat crowns trees are die-ing .the bark rots and falls off leaving a white powder on the ground.the trees that are dead are all next to each other. We do have a problem powdery mildew in our area. Could this be causing the problem with the flat crowns? KZN

Powdery mildew could be the problem, usually it is on the leaves. Check that the soil the trees are planted in drains well, do not overwater. You could have a root fungus that is causing the trees to die.