Last week, I refilled my pheromone trap with a new sticky paper and a ‘lure’, in the hope that it will attract the male codling moths to it.
After mating, female Codling moths will lay single eggs on fruit and leaves in June and July. The eggs hatch 10-14 days later and the larvae burrow into the fruit to feed. They stay there for approximately a month. After this time they crawl down the trunk and cocoon under loose bark or even tree ties, etc. The majority will emerge the following spring, however the earliest ones may emerge from their cocoon as adults in August or September and start the cycle again before winter.
Codling moths cause damage to the apple when the larvae tunnel into it and the apple often falls off the tree early. There is a wonderful picture of a damaged apple on the RHS website here.
Natural pheromones lure male moths into a sticky trap, so they are unable to mate with the female moth. The trap will only attract the codling moth, so it is not a danger to other wildlife, though small birds have been known to be attracted to the moths and become wedged inside the traps, so if you use one then please check it regularly.
Pheromone traps are supposed to be used as an early sign of codling moth, to indicate how big a problem you have. This is a photograph of the sticky card that I removed from last years’ pheromone trap on my apple tree:
There does seem to be a lot of moths, but my apples didn’t seem to suffer too badly last year. So I am happy that the traps are killing the moths that I need to, and I don’t think I will need to do anymore than hang another trap. I will keep checking this year’s trap regularly.
Other ways to help avoid the codling moth:
Pick up windfall apples and remove fallen leaves asap, just in case they contain the cocoons.
Try and attract birds to your plot as they are great at finding and eating the cocoons (Blue tits especially).
Replace tree ties in autumn in case they contain cocoons.
Don’t kill earwigs as they love to eat codling moth eggs.
In July, cut a 50cm strip of corrugated cardboard and wrap it around your tree trunk approximately 45cm from the ground so the corrugations are vertical. In autumn when the codling moths are nicely cocooned in the cardboard, remove the cardboard and burn it. This method is best used on smooth tree trunks.
Hopefully we will all have a better crop of apples to harvest this year, than we did last year.
I thought I would update you on how my parsnips are doing. I have tried various different methods of growing parsnips over the years, but the one method that seems to work the best is to start the parsnips in kitchen rolls. You can read how I do this here.
I think that I get a better rate of germination this way and to prove this to you, you can see from the picture below that I have had a 100% germination rate this year.
On the 6th April, I sowed the parsnip seeds in kitchen rolls and put them on my windowsill. As soon as the seeds germinated I moved them into my cold frame.
I find that toilet rolls are not long enough for parsnip roots, as the root is quite long by the time you actually see the little seed leaves emerge. If the bottom of root touches anything hard e.g. the seed tray at the bottom of the cardboard tubes, it will cause the root to ‘fork’, so you won’t have straight roots.
I thought I would show you an example of a parsnip seedling that I took out of the compost, the day its seed leaves emerged:
The root is 10cm long already and an average toilet roll is approximately 11cm, so if you use toilet rolls, very soon the root will hit the bottom of the seed tray which will cause it to ‘fork’, which means your parsnip will not be straight.
A couple of weeks ago I planted my seedlings out, just under three weeks after sowing my seeds. You can see from the photograph below, how long the root is. The shorter tube (which I didn’t plant as I wanted to use it as a comparison), shows where the root reaches down to in the cardboard tube and the longer tube is there to show the length of an average kitchen roll tube, so you can compare the two together. So you can see there is still a small arount of room for the root to grow down.
It is hard work planting the tubes out as you need deep holes, but the compost in the tubes helps to stop the parsnip from ‘forking’ as the root won’t hit any stones or lumps in the soil.
I make sure that none of the cardboard tube is above the surface, or this will act like a wick and dry your compost out.
I think the hard work is worth it when you harvest lovely straight parsnips.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Friday at approximately 4pm