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Gardening: Q & A.

Byline: Adrienne Wild

THIS week's star letter comes from Melany Blunt, of Shalwell, Newcastle, who wins pounds 20 worth of National Garden Gift Vouchers. She writes: The leaves of my spider plant are pale and sickly and some are joined with a fine web. What's the problem?

ADRIENNE SAYS: It's playing host to red spider mite, which feeds on the sap of indoor plants. If left to breed they will spin webs and wreck the plant. A systemic insecticide which gets into the sap is one solution. Another is to introduce the parasite Phytoseiulus persimilis.

HOW do I cut a dead branch off a tree without causing damage? - Chris Turner, Surbiton, Surrey

ADRIENNE SAYS: Only prune branches that you can reach from the ground with a pruning saw - otherwise call in experts. Always make your first cut about 1ft from the trunk to prevent tearing. Saw off close to the trunk but not flush, making an upward part-cut to prevent it ripping off. Treat with wound sealant.

HOW much work is involved in growing fruit?- Peter Walsh, Loughborough, Leics.

ADRIENNE SAYS: January, February and March are taken up with planting and feeding, April and May with frost protection and using a spray or biological controls. From July onwards, crops should be ready to harvest and at the end of the year annual pruning will take a few hours. I'm sure you'll enjoy every moment of it though.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 31, 2000
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