For further information on banksia species for cut flower production refer to the publications What Cut Flower is that? The essential care and handling guide for cut flower professionals, Quality specifications for Bird’s Nest Banksia, Quality specifications for Scarlet Banksia, Quality specifications for Hooker’s Banksia , Quality specifications for Menzies’ Banksia and Quality specifications for Hinchinbrook Banksia.
Planting and crop management
币游注册The planting rows for banksias should be cultivated, or deep ripped if required, mounded if necessary to ensure good drainage, and mulched with organic or non-organic material. Irrigation lines should be installed before mulching. Banksias are susceptible to wind, and windbreaks should be established well before planting.
币游注册Planting is best done in cold districts from late April to early May, well before the winter period reduces the soil temperature. In coastal New South Wales and Queensland planting may continue through winter into spring. Avoid planting in summer heat. Planting material should be sourced from reputable nurseries and care taken to ensure plants are pest and disease-free.
Irrigation is critical for the establishment of banksia plants, and to produce maximum yield throughout the productive life of the plantation.
Banksias respond to a well-balanced fertiliser program. Moderate nutrient application rates are essential to produce stems with sufficient length, the right thickness and quality flowers. Fertiliser may be applied by top dressing or by fertigation through the irrigation lines.
币游注册Banksias will need to be regularly pruned to improve yields, produce high quality blooms, extend the commercial life of each bush, improve the plant structure, achieve better disease control and improve the manageability and harvesting of the plants. Generally, it is recommended to prune banksias from 4 to 12 months of age after harvest. Initial pruning should take place when the plant is 60-80 cm tall, and pruning should aim to encourage one main stem.
For further general information on planting and crop management of banksias refer to the New Crop Industries Handbook. For information on irrigation refer to the publication Wildflower Irrigation Handbook.
Weeds, pests and diseases
Weed control must start well before planting as there are no in-crop herbicides available for broad leaf weed control once a banksia plantation has been established. Weed control options available once the crop is established include careful application of knockdown herbicides, hand weeding around the plants and in-row mulching.
In their natural habitat, banksias are attacked by a range of insect and mite pests, from wood boring larvae, leaf chewing weevils, scale insects and leaf mining caterpillars, to eriophyiid mites. Under cultivation, banksia can be affected by banksia gall midge, banksia boring moth, large native weevils and termites. Adopting best practice hygiene management and integrated pest management can minimise the impact of the pests listed.
Root rots are one of the most damaging diseases of banksia, the main one being Phytophthora币游注册 sp. and banksias vary in their susceptibility to the disease. Soil should be tested for this disease before planting and the site avoided, if it is infected. Phytophthora will not usually be a big problem in eastern Australia with eastern species, but there is often some loss (5-10% per year) from various fungal pathogens in Proteaceae plantations. Disease free seedlings should be sourced when establishing a plantation and good plant hygiene methods should always be used. Cankers caused by various fungi may also affect banksia, particularly if the plant is under stress, but there are fungicides available to control these diseases.
Further information on weeds, pests and diseases of banksia and other proteaceae can be found in the publications Getting Started in Wildflower Growing and the New Crop Industries Handbook.
The industry body may also have general advice and useful information available on pest and disease management.