Autumn is an ideal time to get out into the garden. Cooler weather has finally arrived with rain received and more forecast to come.
Autumn is a great time to enact any plantings – with soil temperature still warm and moisture available for new plantings to establish with ease. For those areas that experience heavy frosts it is advisable to plant in early to mid autumn which allows plants to harden before frosts arrive. In these areas the use of tree guards is highly recommended for planting of tubestock or semi advanced plants. Autumn/winter is the optimum time to establish more mature plants as they have good stored energy in them and they will handle the cold better.
Jobs for autumn:
1. Pruning – Pruning of winter and spring flowering species should be confined to tip pruning to avoid removing flowering wood. Before pruning, have a close look for any flower buds that may be developing as shown in the photo of Acacia Little Nugget.
Pruning of summer flowering species can still be undertaken. Best to finalise ASAP to ensure flowering next summer is not compromised.
Pruning of plants required for screens or hedges. It is always best to give light prunes progressively to develop thick and bushy plants that will give you privacy. Photo of Hakea gives a good example of growing tips that should be pruned. Don’t let your hedges get out of hand – as the cost of removal can be enormous.
2. Mulching – a good time to enact mulching to control weeds and retain warmth in the soil to maximise growth and enhance vitality of your plants.
3. Lawns – Now is a good time to oversow or fertilise your lawns. End of March is the norm for this to be enacted by but with global warming now fully entrenched this old rule may need revision.
4. Control of Environmental Weeds – The need to stop the spread of environmental weeds is never ending.
– Ensure no seed heads remain on any Agapanthus that remain in your garden to prevent their spread. Ensure their seed does not enter our drains and creeks as they will end up invading our bushland.
– Prune hard any Cherry Laurel, Buddlejas, Cotoneasters, Holly, Ivy, Firethorn, Privet, Broom, Ericas, and Barberries to ensure their fruit or seeds do not develop. Ideally paint stumps with Glyphosate to ensure you do not have to repeat this operation annually and replace with more appropriate plants. For more information on environmental weeds in the Wingecarribee Shire please visit http://www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/environmental-weeds
5. Keeping things tidy and vibrant – Gather up and compost any deciduous leaves before they block drains or smother lawns or ground covers you may have growing under them.
6. Pest control – Check new plantings of Eucalyptus for Autumn Gum Moth. The larvae of this moth is a ferocious consumer of Eucalyptus leaves. They form tight clusters as shown in the photo and move from plant to plant after consuming their leaves. To control you can either spray them with Pyrethrum or crush them. If they do defoliate your Eucalypts they will cause no harm unless your trees have been defoliated over the summer by Christmas Beetles.
Autumn is considered by many to be the best time of year. Mild temperatures, cool nights, and clear skies with little wind are perfect for outdoor activities. Make the most of your autumn.