Green aphids love the tender tips of newly planted pansies, viola and other ornamental seedlings. Also watch out for black aphids that often appear after rain on ornamental shrubs or on the new plant growth of hibiscus, viburnum, murraya, photinia and euonymous that is stimulated after pruning.

These pests are a problem because they will distort and weaken new growth. Control them by spraying with pyrethrum or try eco-oil as an organic option.

Slugs, snails and grubs

In Autumn and winter snails and slugs are on the rampage. Make sure that you protect young seedlings with a water-resistant and pet safe snail bait and apply as packet instructions. As an organic alternative try spraying the area with copper oxychloride or use a snail trap filled with beer.

White Curl Grubs are the larvae of beetles and eat the roots of your plants and your lawn. Treat with Munns Lawn Grub Beetle & Slater Killer or for an organic option try eco-grub.


Small cabbage moth caterpillars (pictured above) love cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli and other tender veggies. Spray with Dipel or dust with Derris Dust to deter white cabbage moths and butterflies, following the withholding instructions on the packet. Remember to reapply after the rain.

Fungal diseases

Clean up and destroy the fallen leaves of your rose bushes. Black spot should be controlled with a fungicide or a complete rose spray.

Watch for petal blight on early flowering azaleas. This can destroy the flowers over night in wet weather. As a precaution,spray with a systemic fungicide before the buds start to open. Once they show colour it is too late. Repeat at fortnightly intervals.

Once the leaves fall from prunus trees spray the tree with copper oxychloride to control shot hole that disfigures the leaves.

Pick up mummified fruit from under plums, peaches, apricots, cherries and other fruiting or ornamental stone fruit trees. If there is any fruit remaining on the branches, remove them and put them into the rubbish. This fruit cause brown rot a fungus that carries over into next years crop.

Rust is a fungus that can attack snapdragons, canna lilies, marigolds, geraniums and turf in cold damp weather. Spray with a systemic fungicide.

Watch your clivias. The winter cold can cause a fungal problem that will rot the neck of the bulb. Spray with anti rot at the first telltale brown blistered patches on the leaves.