YOUR APRIL GARDEN
You’ve noticed the subtle change in the air, haven’t you? The sun is rising a little later, there’s a fresh crispness to the air, the air conditioner is taking a well-earned rest, and you’re not waking up drenched in sweat. With great relief, Autumn has arrived. It’s time to get outdoors again and enjoy your garden in the milder climate.
Whilst you’re observing, you may wonder why plants turn the beautiful rusty brown and orange hues of autumn? As it gets cooler, the plants are less stressed than they were when battling through the intense summer heat. Their growth spurts slow down, and many start to withdraw chlorophyll from their leaves. This gives rise to the exquisite array of warm autumn colours on show and adds another element of interest to your garden landscape.
On the warmer Dolphin Coast our autumn contrasts are somewhat subtler, but there are still a host of plants that portray winter character, such as the winter flowering favourites: Aloes, Crane Flowers, Ribbon bush and Red-Hot Pokers.
So, what should you be doing in your autumn garden?
Just as animals and humans don’t like to move or be moved in cold temperatures, neither do plants. If you need to relocate established trees and shrubs to a more suitable position in your garden, then Autumn is the best time to do it. Here are our tips for getting it just right:
Tip 1: In preparation for the big move, always prune trees and shrubs before digging them out. This helps to minimize transplant shock and gives them a much better chance to make a rapid recovery in their new home.
Tip 2: The new hole should be prepared before you even start digging the tree or shrub out. Good hole preparation is vital. A general rule for a medium sized tree (of about a man’s height) is to dig a 1m x 1m hole and about 800mm deep. To ensure your tree flourishes, mix the soil that has come out of the hole with generous amounts of compost, bone meal and a general fertilizer.
Tip 3: Firmly compress the soil around the roots of the plant. Don’t be too gentle - even a great big stomp with your garden boots is good. This is a vital step as large air pockets around the roots cause the fine root hairs to dry out which causes the death of the plant.
Tip 4: The “Life and Death” tip: Never plant your tree too deep in the hole. If soil covers the stem of your tree, higher than what it was in its original position … IT WILL DIE.
You will probably notice a drop in rainfall, along with the cooler climate. If you are not in a drought-stricken area, you will now need to start leaning heavily on an irrigation system to keep your lawn and gardens well watered and looking good. If you have an irrigation system, take some time to run the system and inspect it for any repairs that may be needed. Here are our tips for getting your irrigation sorted:
Tip 1: If you are battling with repairs, call in the experts. It’s important to get the mechanics just right.
Tip 2: Check each spray head and ensure that it is dispersing water correctly and is facing in the right direction, and not wasting water by watering the wall or driveway.
Tip 3: Reset your Irrigation Controller to your Autumn programme. A deep watering three times a week is far better than a short watering daily.
Tip 4: Check for any leaks or breaks in your pipe. These are so easy to repair and are hugely water wise!
Water Wise Fact: A garden irrigated by a well-designed irrigation system uses less water per month than a garden watered at the same intervals by hand. Consider your own or your garden helpers watering habits and determine whether it would perhaps be wiser to invest in a system that delivers the correct amount of water and on schedule.
We all despair as we go into autumn, at the thought of our lush green lawns starting to get that dull winter look . We’ve got a few tips that will help preserve your green lawn through the dry winter months.
Tip 1: Give your lawn a last feed of compost and garden fertilizer before winter, to help it through. Read our fertilizer blog post for fertilizing tips.
Tip 2: It is far better to mow your lawn regularly on a higher setting, than to mow irregularly and then mow the lawn too short. The former is beneficial in ensuring a well matted lawn coverage. So remember to raise the blades on your mower. You only ever want to mow one third of the leaf off at a time. Any more than that will cause large brown patches.
Tip 3: Continue to water your lawn throughout winter but be water wise – consider our suggestion above to install a professional irrigation system.
Invasive plant species in your garden
Tip 1 : Do a full and thorough garden inspection for invasive plant species .
Tip 2 : You’re bound to notice there are little pockets of invasive plant species in your garden which have thrived in the sweltering summer conditions.
Tip3: Be ruthless in pulling them out by hand
Tip 4: Dispose of them responsibly at a registered municipal dump site
Tip 5: If you have large outbreaks be sure to consult a professional to assist you with an eradication plan
Still concerned about preparing your garden for our cooler winter climate? Call us for a consultation or a garden maintenance quote.