Root Awakening: Turf substrate may be compacted and draining poorly

This turf appears to have poor water drainage. PHOTO: YEO TEE KHOON

Turf substrate may be compacted and draining poorly

This lawn is growing moss and algae. How can I restore it to its former glory?

Yeo Tee Khoon

The presence of moss and algae is likely due to the presence of moisture, which can build up due to compacted turf substrate. This in turn leads to poor water drainage. Ensure that your turf is getting enough sunlight.

Judging by the state of your turf, extensive work is needed to improve its drainage. Turf should be regularly maintained by a competent contractor. Good-quality turf requires regular hollow tining, top-dressing with sand, fertilising and grass-cutting.

Shrub with aromatic leaves is a Zanthoxylum species

This plant is likely the Chinese pepper plant, which is botanically known as Zanthoxylum beecheyanum. PHOTO: LEONG TUCK SUM

What is this plant and how do I care for it? Is it native to Singapore?

Leong Tuck Sum

Pluck and smell a leaf. If it has an aromatic, spicy scent, it is likely the Chinese pepper plant, which is botanically known as Zanthoxylum beecheyanum. It is native to parts of East Asia, but not Singapore.

This plant needs well-draining soil and direct sunlight for at least six hours a day in order to thrive. It does not tolerate wet feet, so it is best to grow it in a pot.

Plant is likely the Naga Morich pepper

This plant is likely the Naga Morich pepper, a cultivar of Capsicum chinense. Pepper cultivars from this species tend to be very spicy. PHOTO: SUSAN TAY

What is this plant and how can we preserve its seeds?

Susan Tay

The plant is likely the Naga Morich pepper, a cultivar of Capsicum chinense. Pepper cultivars from this species tend to be very spicy.

You can pick the ripe red fruit. Wear thick plastic gloves and use tweezers to remove the seeds. Avoid touching the fresh seeds with bare hands and do not rub your eyes. Sow the seeds as soon as you can, as pepper seeds germinate best when fresh, and refrigerate excess seeds.

Ensure plant is watered and fertilised regularly

This plant is likely the Guiana Chestnut and its botanical name is Pachira aquatica. PHOTO: DANNY TAN

What is this plant? I have had it for a few years, and its leaves are curling and yellowing in some areas. What is wrong?

Danny Tan

The plant is likely the Guiana Chestnut and its botanical name is Pachira aquatica.

Has your plant been growing in the same pot for a long time? Its roots may have filled the pot and exhausted the nutrients. This would dry the plant out, as there would not be enough soil volume left to retain the moisture needed for a bigger plant. The nutrients could have also been exhausted if the plant has not been fertilised regularly.

You may need to move the plant to a larger pot with fresh growing media. Feed it regularly with slow-release fertiliser pellets, which can be purchased at local nurseries. Also, rotate your plant from time to time to promote a symmetrical growth habit.

Plant could be the raspberry

The raspberry plant needs a vertical structure to climb. PHOTO: CHARLENE ONG

I placed spoilt fruit in the pot for composting and a plant has grown. What is it?

Charlene Ong

The plant appears to be the raspberry, a prickly plant with a vine-like growth habit that requires a vertical structure for it to climb. Grow it in a sunny spot with moisture-retentive, well-draining soil.

  • Answers by Dr Wilson Wong, an NParks-certified practising horticulturist, parks manager and ISA-certified arborist. He is the founder of Green Culture Singapore and an adjunct assistant professor (Food Science & Technology) at the National University of Singapore.
  • Have a gardening query? E-mail it with clear, high-resolution pictures of at least 1MB, if any, and your full name to stlife@sph.com.sg. We reserve the right to edit and reject questions.

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