Winter is the perfect time to plan and undertake bigger landscaping projects such as paving, as you’ll find it’s much more comfortable than working in the hot summer sun. There’s also a lot that can be done plant-wise so they come blooming back for spring. It won’t take much of your time to keep your garden looking healthy during winter, and by doing a few key things in your garden it will look great all year round.
If you haven’t started already, get your winter vegetable garden going. There’s still time to plant yummy crops like peas, broad beans, English spinach, carrots, sweet corn and rhubarb crowns. Regularly liquid feed your winter vegetables, annuals and spring flowering bulbs with a soluble fertiliser or a bio-fertiliser. Stay vigilant when it comes to weeds; they can move surprisingly fast in winter, so keep them under control with hand weeding or spraying if needed.
The cooler months are transplanting time. If you have perennials you want to lift, divide or move, now is the time. Winter is also the ideal time to move smaller deciduous trees like Japanese maples or roses once you’ve pruned them. Don’t forget to deadhead your bulbs and annuals, removing all finished flowers and stems.
Come July, it’s the pruning season for many plants. Roses can be cut back up to two thirds, and you can also prune grape vines, wisteria (just make sure you don’t cut the dormant flower buds off!), crepe myrtles and hydrangeas. Take care that you don’t prune any of your spring flowering shrubs or trees or you’ll lose your spring display!
When it comes to your lawn, the onset of the cooler weather means that growth slows dramatically. You lawn will struggle to make so with the limited sunlight and will be more susceptible to some diseases and weed invasion. Many weeds are cool season annuals, but a bit of winter care will see your lawn bounce back to life in spring.
In winter, you should switch your mower from mulch to catch mode, as you need to get as much sunlight to the grass as possible. Don’t drop your mower, if anything, increase it. Your lawn needs to be left with as much leaf surface as possible to catch those precious rays of sunlight. You will only need to mow every three to four weeks. Rake your lawn regularly to remove any fallen leaves, as they can easily block out sunlight. Prune trees and shrubs to allow more light to reach your lawn.
If bindii has been a problem in summer, then treat your lawn in late autumn or early winter. You need to get bindii early before it flowers and sets seed so spring is far too late. Keep your eyes open for fast growing annual weeds like winter grass – it stands out in the lawn, as it will be bright green against your lawn’s duller winter hue. Winter grass is easy to remove by hand, but do it before seeds; alternatively you can use a selective herbicide.
Apply a specialist winter fertilizer to your lawn at the recommended rates and intervals. Remember to apply a bio-fertiliser or seaweed tonic as winter starts and then reapply every month. This will improve your lawn’s all-round resistance to fungal problems.
This article featured on page 38 of Issue 007 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine . New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
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