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Whitefly can wreak havoc on your plants

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

It is definitely beginning to feel like spring has arrived, despite the recent storms and blast of cold.

Nature is programmed to grow when the days get longer, and there is ample evidence of this! Due to the mild January we had, many plants were fooled into thinking it was later in the year, especially roses, and these got a cruel scorching during the hail showers we experienced.

If you are new to gardening, do not worry, they will grow out of this. If you have not pruned your roses, it is a good time to do it, then they can divert their energies into strong new growth.

It is also a good time to look at your box hedges or plants, if you have them. Box blight, or Cylindrocladium buxicola, has become a problem in recent years, and it is advisable to cut out and burn any sections that are affected. A hard prune back will encourage a regeneration of weaker plants, but if they are too far gone, it is best to take them out altogether. Blight has been ruled the cause of many problems which affect Buxus plants, but in my experience more common issues have been ignored. Ground conditions certainly affect the plants more often than blight – box plants will be yellow and stunted if the ground is too heavy and waterlogged. Similarly, plants will lose their leaves if the ground is too dry, and can do so very suddenly. Unless there is visible new growth you will not notice a Buxus plant wilting if it is dry, which is a regular occurrence in pots, but also in sandy, or poor, soil. The plant will shed its leaves, seemingly for no reason, and blight will be blamed, as opposed to poor watering! Another common problem with box plants is whitefly. This little pest can really wreak havoc, as it goes unnoticed in the dense growth for a long time. Again, it would seem that your plant is losing its leaves for no reason. However, on closer inspection, you will notice white webbing or white fluffy deposits, which is evidence of whitefly. If the plant is shaken, a cloud of tiny white flies will emerge. These are quite difficult to control (similarly in houseplants, where they are prevalent), and a systemic pesticide is often best, as opposed to a topical spray.

Watch out for wind scorch

Wind scorch will also cause your plants to look poorly turning them a shade of ochre which looks very similar to underfed plants. The plant will grow out of this discolouration if it is sheltered, or fed. If these problems have been eliminated, and it is blight you are dealing with, a product such as Provanto Fungus Fighter is an option, as well as quite a few organic sprays which are now available. The symptoms to look out for are brown/black spots or lesions on the leaves, which then become dry and fall off. The spores remain viable for five years, so good hygiene and strong plants are key. Pruning your plants on a very dry day is preferable as blight spreads in humid conditions. Keeping tools clean and sterilised is also advisable. Clean up any dead leaves at this time of year and feed with a high quality slow release fertiliser, such as the specialist ‘Topbuxus’ products which are formulated by Buxus nurseries themselves. Avoid tomato food, a general shrub fertiliser will have a better range of nutrients. Apply a good layer of mulch around your plants to keep them moist in the summer.

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Sam Maguire to feature at next week’s AugustFest

Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races […]

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Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races offering patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse.

With lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Thursday and Friday are evening meetings and Saturday is an afternoon event with all race cards offering seven thrilling races for spectators to enjoy each day.

Thursday is Sam Maguire evening. And to mark Kerry’s recent success and Killarney Races bi-centenary celebration, Killarney Races are offering an amazing deal on the opening day of their three-day event. On Thursday August 18 patrons will enjoy admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20! The first race is approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. Come early, bring along your jersey and camera, it’s going to be a great evening.

Friday will see the new entrance officially open, as racing officials and elected representatives unlock the gate to the next 200 years at the popular Killarney track, first race at approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. With music on the lawn from Donal Lucey and from Tom Cats in the Jim Culloty bar after racing the après racing party is sure to be a ‘winner alright’!

Saturday is AYU Ladies Day and all about the glamour as fashionistas bring the curtain down on AugustFest in fine style. AYU is an Irish based and Irish owned cosmetics company set up by renowned make-up artist Suzie O’Neill. With over €1,500 in prizes for the most stylish ladies to dress up for, what’s not to love! Gates open from 12 noon with the first off at approximately 2pm.

“At AugustFest we will be celebrating a major milestone here at Killarney Races, 200 years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations and share in this historic moment with us as we officially open the gates on the next 200 years! It’s a rare opportunity to be able to say ‘I was there the day they celebrated the bi-centenary’ anywhere and what a great story to share with the grandchildren in years to come. On that note, we are looking forward to welcoming multiple generations of families during AugustFest, so make a plan and come along and join us for what will be a most remarkable festival at our beautiful boutique racecourse this August!”

The feature race on the opening day of AugustFest is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes (listed), the Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap of €50,000 and the Gain Advantage Race Series. On Friday, the day two feature is the Grade B Handicap Hurdle of €50,000 and the EBF Novice Hurdle, with four competitive chase races. The final day of the festival the feature is the Grade B Handicap Chase of €50,000.

Adult tickets are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the “Punter’s Pack” is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options.

For all ticket details and festival programme information visit killarneyraces.com.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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