Summer is just around the corner and should your garden be short of mulch, now is a good time to apply. Mulch is essential in our dry climate; view it as 30+ sunscreen. It is highly recommended because it suppresses weeds, retains moisture in the soil, keeps plant roots cool and protects the soil against compaction and erosion.
Organic mulches such as leaf mulch, manures, straw, woodchip etc have the added bonus of supplying nutrients to the ground as they break down. The recommended depth range is 75-100mm to inhibit weeds and retain moisture.
Using a heavy, pebble mulch on the surface of pots will not only conserve water but help stop pots from blowing over in strong winds.
Seeking to reduce watering? Consider less thirsty ornamental grasses:
– Dianella (Dianella)
– Festuca (Blue Fescue)
– Liriope (Giant Mondo)
– Lomandra (Mat Rush)
– Miscanthus (Miscanthus)
– Mondo (Ophiopogon)
– Pennisetum (Fountain Grass)
– Poa (Coastal Tussock)
– Stipa (Slender Bamboo Grass)
– Themeda (Dwarf Blue Kangaroo Grass)
TIPS AND TASKS:
- Start potting up summer annuals for Christmas. Potted colour can be used to brighten up outdoor entertainment areas or as garden gifts.
- Spring annuals will die down shortly. Replace with summer flowering annuals such as Aster, Celosia, Cosmos, Marigold, Petunia, Portulaca, Salvia, Zinnia etc.
- Plant in the vegetable bed: beans, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, silverbeet, tomato, zucchini etc. Keep vegetables well watered to avoid them becoming tough and bitter.
- Trim formal hedges such as Murraya and Buxus. Feed with general purpose fertiliser.
- Look out for caterpillars. Snip off with old scissors or control with environment friendly Dipel.
- Water early morning or later afternoon. Avoid watering during the heat of the day (unless a plant is wilting). Most of the water will disappear through evaporation. Make sure you comply with any water restrictions in your area.
- Dahlia tubers should be planted now for a floral display late summer, early Autumn. Control snails and slugs.
- Prune your climbing roses after the main flush of bloom. Cut old worn out canes right back. Shorten back the remaining canes.
- Strawberry plants are more productive by removing the runners as they develop.
- Cut back natives behind their spent flower heads. Native shrubs should be tip pruned on a regular basis to encourage more lateral branching.
- You should be protecting your fruit against fruit fly. Use Lebaycid or control with environment friendly baits and traps.
- Spray roses to control Black Spot and Aphids. Use a rose fungicide to control Black Spot and a pyrethrum based spray for Aphids.
- Non-chemical control of Black Spot mix one part full cream milk and nine parts water. Spray twice weekly. Use soapy water for the control of Aphids.
- Citrus trees are likely to be attacked by bronze orange bugs about now, control by spraying with either Carbaryl or Confidor.
- If required, lift, divide and replant Iris after they have flowered. Lift and store Tulip, Daffodil and Hyacinth as soon as foliage dies down.