Mail Online


Got a problem in your plot? Email Martyn Cox at

Q I have an orange tree in my conservatory that has bumpy things on its branches. What are they and can they harm the tree?

Pat Charles

A Those are scale insects – sap-sucking critters that will reduce the vigour of your plant. They are often found on stems and under leaves, and excrete a honeydew which provides a surface for sooty moulds to grow. You can easily control them by rubbing them off by hand.

Q I love horse chestnut trees but know they grow very

large. Are there any compact varieties that might be more suitable for smaller gardens?

Jane Eames

As you mention, horse


chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) trees are only suitable for parkland or very large gardens as they can reach

75ft or more in height. Try the related Aesculus parviflora, which grows to around 12ft. It has similar-looking foliage, white flowers in late spring and conkers.

Q Earlier in the year I planted several lily bulbs in my beds. Is there anything that

I need to do to help them survive the winter?

Michelle Holmes

Cover the ground with a


2in-3in deep blanket of garden compost, composted bark or leaf mould to protect them from frosts. In late winter/ early spring, have horticultural fleece ready so you can cover shoots if a cold snap is forecast.





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