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No leatherjacket required.

Leatherjackets are the hells angels of the lawn world and at this time of year they're likely to be causing devastation beneath your grass.

The grey-brown culprits, also known as the Daddy Long-Legs or crane fly, sever grass roots as they feed.

The results are sickly yellow or brown patches of dying lawn.

Although most damaging when young, the adult leatherjacket, which grows up to 13/4 in long, is much easier to spot.

If there are still young leatherjackets in the soil beneath your grass you can control them by drenching them with Sybol, or dusting with Gamma BHC Dust. If you don't like using chemicals then Biosafe, containing the nematode Steinernema carpocapsae, is definitely worthwhile.

This form of biological control even works well against the older larvae and is completely harmless to any beneficial creatures which may live in the soil or feed nearby.

If you've got sickly looking patches on the lawn but are unsure whether leatherjackets are responsible, then there is a simple way to find out.

Take a black polythene bin-liner or sheet of black polythene, water the grass well and then lay the polythene over the lawn's surface.

During the night the leatherjackets will wriggle upwards, attracted by the cool, damp, dark conditions under the bag. Next morning you can scoop them up and help stop them doing any further damage.

It's also worth remembering that although leather jackets are most troublesome on lawns, they'll also munch away at vegetables and flowers.

They can even kill young plants or seedlings - so wage war on them before they wage war on your lawn!

Have trimmer, will travel

At last - an alternative to trimming those far-flung reaches of the lawn without getting snarled up in miles of electric cord.

The cordless grass trimmer from Makita is powered by a sealed 12V battery pack which weighs two-and-a-half pounds and can be clipped to your belt or slung over your shoulder.

Recharging is simple and won't reduce battery life, while the pack can safely be left for up to six months without use. It operates for up to 22 minutes.

With its fantastic splash of yellow, green, bronze and red foliage, Houttuynia cordata Chameleon looks as if it has been daubed with paint.

It makes great ground cover from spring to autumn and, as well as forming a mat 8in (20cm tall) by 12in (30cm) wide, it's studded with tiny white flowers in spring. It also looks good under shrubs, or in among waterside plants. Try growing some on the patio or a window box. It thrives in sun or part shade, provided it always has adequate moisture and isn't placed in too warm a situation.

Start to reduce watering of greenhouse and house plants. Continue to pick apples as they ripen, remembering to store only those which are in perfect condition. Consider sowing some hardy annuals - try Clarkia, cornflower or Godetia.

Prune rambler roses as soon as their flowering is over, taking them back to just above ground level and then tie in all the new growths.

Check gooseberry bushes for mildew and prune out any infected stems.

Q I'm fascinated by gardening terms and expressions, but often confused by them. Can you suggest a book?

AThe Gardener's Dictionary of Horticultural Terms by Harold Bagus (Cassell, pounds 12.99). It's rather like a cross between an encyclopaedia and a dictionary and as well as having more than 2,900 entries it is also illustrated with over 1,200 diagrams to ensure you find all you need about botany and horticulture and, of course, gardening. It's hard to put down!

Fragrant Regale Lilies are one of the oldest plants in the garden, flowering prolifically in July and August of the first year of planting. After that, they'll give you a decade or more of pleasure - and we're offering you 10 bulbs for just pounds 9.95 inc. p&p.

Send your order, together with your cheque or PO to: Daily Mirror Lily Offer, PO Box 64, South West District Office, Manchester M16 9HY. Make cheque/PO payable to "DMG608 Lily Offer" and please put your name and address on the back in block capitals.

Or call the credit card order hotline on 0161 431 6431, quoting ref:DMG608 Lily Offer.

Offer subject to availability and to UK readers only. Allow up to 28 days for delivery. Return within 7 days if not satisfied. Offer closes 20/10/96.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Greenwood, Pippa
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 7, 1996
Previous Article:FAIRWAY TO SEE WORLD.
Next Article:Harbouring dreams in Cornwall; Holiday Extra.

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