October is the perfect time to plant summer colour. Longer, warmer days mean plenty of time outdoors in the garden. Mid Spring is the perfect planting time in all parts of Australia – the soil is warm; temperatures are not too high and there’s often good rainfall to encourage good plant growth.
1. Pruning your roses and natives
As a general guide, prune Spring flowering shrubs such as Callistemon (Bottlebrush) after they have finished flowering. Plants expel all their stored energy to produce flowers so pruning whilst in bud or during flowering means they won’t have any energy left for wound repair or new growth. After pruning make sure you mulch or top up your mulch to protect plants against weather extremes and keep soils moist.
It’s also rose season, your pruned roses should now be starting to shoot with new life. Remove any crossing branches or inwards-facing shoots you may have missed as these will cause problems down the line.
Fertilise and protect your roses now using Richgro Black Marvel Rose and Flower Food and add some Richgro Bug Killa to control aphids from damaging your new shoots. Roses may be suffering from Blackspot, so it would be good idea to spray them now with a good rose fungicide.
2. Keeping your garden hydrated
Ensure your irrigation system is in good working order. I like to flush the drip lines, sprinklers and drippers to remove any dirt that’s found its way into the pipes and repair any holes too. Check if the plants are getting the recommended amount of water by leaving the system on for a full cycle and then inspect to see if the soil is moist or not.
Applying Richgro Ezi-Wet will make sure the water is absorbed by the soil and getting to the roots of the plants. If the water is pooling around your garden bed or running down the side of pots, this is a good indication that it is time to apply a soil wetter. Then don’t forget to Mulch or top up your existing mulch so your garden beds remain well hydrated as the temperature warms up.
3. Maintain your lawn and turf
You can plant new lawns now, and free-draining soil is the key to a good lawn. Aerate with a fork to ensure air and water gets to the roots. You add a good layer of Richgro Bentonite Sand to Soil if your soil is sandy or Gypsum if your soils are heavy clay based. Start by getting the soil right and this will help give your new lawn the best chance to succeed. Lawns should now be cut weekly, encouraging new sideways growth, giving you a dense healthy lawn. At the very least it should be done fortnightly, but don’t leave it much later than that.
4. Mulch to enrich your garden
Add mulch around plants to prevent roots from drying out and to help them retain water. Natural Pinebark Mulch is an attractive, decorative mulch that helps retain moisture in the soil. The pine bark husks are screened to ensure consistency in size and graded to maintain a range of different particle sizes. The screening removes debris which aids water uptake, whilst the larger particles facilitate root growth by anchoring the smaller particles into the soil.
5. Repotting your plants
The best time to repot your plants is in Spring so that actively growing roots will have enough time to grow into newly added potting mix. Use the new Richgro Black Marvel Potting Mix. There are several signs that houseplants can exhibit when they are pot-bound. Do you notice that the potting mix dries out quickly even during periods of cooler temperatures? Also, are any roots growing through the drainage holes? Does it appear that the foliage and stems have either stopped growing or growth has slowed even when fertilized regularly in spring and summer?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, remove the plant from the container and examine the roots. If the roots are circling around or are so dense that it is difficult to see any potting mix in the bottom third of the root ball, it’s time to repot.
Take a sharp pruning saw or carpentry saw and remove the outer layer of roots, then dunk the root ball in a bucket of water with some Richgro EZI-WET in it and wait for the air bubbles to stop. You can then repot the plant and it will pick up in vigour and health.
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