Connect with us


Whitefly can wreak havoc on your plants




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.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


Continue Reading


Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

Continue Reading

Last News