I bought a Red Kākābeak plant at the beginning of winter. It seemed to be growing well then all of a sudden it started losing its leaves. I have now bare branches but new growth is showing. Have you any ideas?
Wonderful that you are growing a Kakabeak shrub, it is actually an endangered native plant that is now only found naturally occurring in Eastland, North Island of NZ. The cause of your leaf loss is unlikely to be from rabbits, and more likely an attack by the Clianthus Caterpillar. To confirm this is the cause, check your plant at night with a torch and inspect the leaves for hairy black caterpillars. These pests can strip a plant very quickly, reducing it from a full luscious leafy plant to an almost leafless version of its former self overnight. The best thing to do is to remove the caterpillars and euthanise them however you see fit.
Now you’ve solved the caterpillar problem, to keep your Kakabeak shrub healthy, feed it with Daltons Premium Tree and Shrub Fertiliser from spring (mid October) through to Christmas at four weekly intervals. Keep a good layer of Daltons Mulch & Grow around the shrub, especially in summer to retain moisture, add nutrition and suppress weeds. The Kakabeak flowers from August through until November. After flowering prune to shape and encourage healthy branching habits. Kakabeaks are prone to slightly erratic growing habits and you can end up with unusual forms if you don’t prune them.
Products To Try
More like this
How to Grow NZ Natives
Our viburnum (not a snowball one), has grown very straggly and back in May, half of it was blooming, and the other half was leafless. Would it be wise to cut it back, and if so, by how much?
Growing Pohutukawa – New Zealand’s Christmas Tree
Caring for an Olive Tree
I have an olive tree grew well in the last ten years. The last two years there have been no olives and the leaves are all in the top 1/3. Should I prune the bottom leafless twigs?
I have just moved into a new place and would like to grow a tree/hedge along my back and side fence. The back fence has two fairly large trees right up close (in the neighbour’s) and the side fence has a tree too but not quite so near. I want something that will grow quickly, be hardy and reasonably easy to maintain.
Dead Leaves on Bay Trees
My ornamental bay trees have a lot of dead leaves in the middle. How do I bring them back to health?
I have about a dozen griselinia which have not grown as tall as the others. I have planted 22 for a hedge which are about 9 years old. What can I do to get them to grow higher and catch up to the others?
Cherry Tree Root Growth
We have three flowering cherry trees in our section. They appear to be sending out roots to other parts of the garden. How can we stop this? Will they damage to our new drive? And does cutting them back affect the trees?
We have a very big cherry blossom tree on our property and it has nearly dropped all its leaves for winter. When is it best to trim/prune it?
Avocados and Chestnuts
Can my self-seeded avocados, in Masterton, produce edible fruit? Also, I have a large horse chestnut tree, and while walking in the park I collected chestnuts and their casings from two different looking chestnut trees, in case they’re edible. How do I identify them?