Now is a good time to top dress your lawn. Use lawn top soil or river sand to fill up hollows first and then top dress the whole lawn lightly. You should be able to see 50% of your lawn. Aerate well worn lawn areas with a garden fork or hire an aerator. Apply gypsum if you have clay soil.
Fertilise your lawns now. Lawns require a regular feed of fertiliser throughout the warmer months to replace nitrogen loss through mowing. Apply lawn food when dry and water well. Avoid exceeding the recommended application rate as this could be harmful.
If your plants are under performing purchase a pH testing kit to check your soil. Most plants happily grow in the pH range of 6 (very slightly acidic) to 7 (neutral). With the exception of Azaleas, Camellias and a few other plants which prefer pH 5.0 – 5.5, add lime to increase pH and sulphur to reduce pH. Sandy soils will respond quite quickly with an altered pH but heavy clay soils can take many months to change.
Work now on getting the garden ready for a real Australian outdoor Christmas by lightly trimming shrubs (especially those with colourful new foliage), adding some quick growing annuals and installing outdoor lighting.
TIPS AND TASKS:
- Get into the practice of pruning flowering shrubs immediately after flowering. You can safely adopt this principal on all flowering shrubs with the exception of Hydrangeas and Roses which require additional pruning late July/August.
- Leave bulb foliage to wither away naturally.
- Maximise garden use by planning a garden that has a balance of light and shade.
- Divide and replant Chrysanthemum using only vigorous outside pieces.
- Control Azalea Lace Bug and Red Spider which give Azalea leaves a grey colour. Spray with Confidor, Rogor, Folimat or Mavrik.
- Lawn grubs are now active. Control with lawn grub killer.
- You can re-pot and divide Orchids after flowering. Use an orchid potting mix and add slow release fertiliser.
- Plant in the flower bed Ageratum, Carnation, Marigold, Petunia, Phlox, Salvia, Snapdragon, Zinnias etc. Liquid fertilise to induce early flowers.
- Plant in the vegetable bed beans, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, pumpkin, silverbeet, tomatoes etc. Keep water up to vegetables to avoid them becoming tough and bitter.
- Introduce children to gardening by planting sweet corn. Corn should be planted into beds that have been well fertilised and limed. Best results are achieved by planting in blocks rather than rows due to better cross pollination.
- It is a great time of the year to visit your local nursery and plant a new garden. When selecting plants be guided by the purpose of the plant first, the foliage next, followed by the flowers.
- Control scale on citrus, gardenias etc. Use Pest Oil or white oil with Malathion. Watch out for aphids especially on new growth. Spray with soapy water.
- Train your plants to put down deep hardy roots by watering every 4 days during the warmer months (subject to weather conditions).
- Water the soil rather than the foliage, it’s the roots that need the water. Plants respond better to long watering periods rather than short periods.