A garden needs different attention during different seasons, but most importantly it needs care!
If you fail to look after your garden, you will lose all the hard work you put in at the beginning. Here are a few tips from zoomgardens that will help keep your garden beautiful all year round.
We will go through each season and how best to approach the care of your garden:
1. Spring care
2. Summer care
3. Autumn care
4. Winter care
Spring is a great time in the garden to set out your framework for the year. It’s a perfect time to ease yourself back into caring for your garden and the secret is to carry out maintenance in small but regular steps.
● Perennials – in early spring cut back and remove any dead growth.
● Pots/containers – in late spring plant your pots, window boxes and any bare spots in beds with annual bedding; you can also add herbs and trailing tomatoes. Don’t forget to water them!!! This may be every day if needed.
● Mulch and weed as much as you can!!! This will help you to keep weeds under control during the summer.
● Lawn care – in late spring you can apply weed and feed fertilizers. If the lawn is in bad shape after winter you should think about scarifying and aerating your lawn.
● Trees and shrubs – until we reach April it’s not too late to move them! It is time to cut back Cornus and Fuchsia. Late spring is the time for pruning box hedges and topiary as well as spring flowering climbers (after flowering).
● Patio/Deck – after winter is the right time to power wash your patio/decking area and get ready for those summer barbeques. You can also spray your patio with moss killer if it has become a little green after winter. It’s a good time to paint your deck, shed or any garden furniture with quality decking/furniture oil.
Several important things should be done in the garden after the seeds have flowered and the plants are planted. Remember that thinning the plants is just as important as keeping the weeds out of your garden and that improper watering can do more harm than good in the garden.
Even a small garden, when well kept is an enjoyable outdoor space. The time to stop weeds is just as they are coming up. Once weeds gain a foothold, it is a lot of hard work to eradicate them. Shallow root-tilling or hoeing a day or two after a rain is an excellent time to weed. Hoe off weeds in the heat of the day so that they dry out and die in the sun. Don’t water after weeding since weeds will re-root. And don’t let a few late season weeds spread thousands of seeds over your soil. You’ll just have to fight them next year.
During summer season, with rising temperatures, it is not just us humans who face dehydration and side effects of heat, but also the plants. With some precautions and proper care, summer will be the best season for your plants. After winter, summer is the time for growth and regeneration. Here are some precautionary tips that you should follow to help your plants make the best of this growing season:
● Water your plants more than you normally do to make up for the lack of humidity in the atmosphere. During summer water the plants during early morning or just after sunset, to avoid evaporation of the water.
● Water slowly and deeply. Our plants need lots and lots of water in order to grow healthily. Watering slowly allows the water to penetrate deeper and prevent runoff.
● The soil should be wetted to a depth of 6-12 inches each time you water and not watered again until the top few inches dry out. Any watering system that wets the plant leaves increases disease damage, especially if the foliage remains wet overnight.
● If your pot soil is sandy, try mixing in a small amount of clay. Sandy soil becomes dry easily and mixing it with some clay will help it to retain moisture.
● If you fertilize, fertilize organically – using an organic fertilizer that doesn’t force your plant to eat is the best solution to keeping your soil full of nutrients. This allows your plant to feed when it is hungry, not when it has to.
● Lawn care – do not cut your lawn too low – a general rule of thumb is to not cut more than ½ of the length of your grass. Cutting more than this will put stress on your lawn and could cause it serious damage.
● Treat for pests in the morning or evening – do not treat for pests during the height of the day when the sun and heat are at their strongest. This could cause your plants to burn or dehydrate, and may cause them to die.
● The best time to thin out vegetables is when you are weeding for the first time. Pull out the smaller plants when they are 1 to 2 inches tall and the soil is moist. Be careful not to damage the roots of the remaining plants. Press the soil firmly with one hand while pulling the neighbouring plant with the other hand. If it is hot and dry, give the plants a gentle and thorough watering after thinning to perk them up.
At this time of year it is very important to continue the basic tasks such as weeding and grass cutting and to remove as much debris from the garden as possible.
● Lawn care – between August and October is a time to apply weed and feed fertilizer. In September you can seed or turf a lawn or prepare damaged grassed areas and aerate your lawn. Aerate the lawn with a garden fork and scatter lime lightly over it. This sweetens the soil after many years of lawn food application.
● Tree/shrubs care – remove any broken or damaged branches after stormy weather and take care when using loppers and saws. Roses, Fuchsia and Buddleia can all be cut back by half to prevent wind damage and root rock in late autumn.
● Perennials – in late autumn cut back some of the dead stems. Generally we cut back most of the herbaceous perennials by half but do this over autumn and winter if you want to retain some cover.
● Mulch around winter or spring flowering plants such as Hellebores and Anemones.
● Patios/decking – always keep your paving but especially decking as free as possible from organic waste such as leaves, moss and the like. Use a deck wash or low pressure power wash to remove as much waste as possible.
● Remove and compost all greens, leaves and weed waste.
● It is a time to clean any ponds and water features. Don’t forget to clean your pump!
● Weed and dig over your vegetable garden and begin mulching.
● Autumn is the time to make new plants from cuttings. Take 4 inch cuttings from hardwood herbs such as rosemary and bay or natives such as banksias, grevillea and coastal rosemary. Remove the lower leaves, dip cuttings into hormone powder and pot in small containers of premium potting mix. Keep moist and sheltered from strong wind and sun.
● Trim hedges before the onset of winter to keep them compact and bushy from ground level.
Although it may seem like a far from ideal time of year for gardening there is still plenty to do and a little extra effort can save time and money the following year. Weeding and grass cutting is no longer carried out but there is plenty of maintenance, preparation and tidying to be done.
● Lawn care – only top your lawn, never cut it as low as in the summer and do not cut in frosty or very wet weather.
● Trees – this is the perfect time of year to plant bare root and containerised trees and also to transplant deciduous trees such as Birch, Cherry and Hazel. Heavy pruning can also take place now.
● Pots/containers – dress pots and add winter violas, cyclamen and ivy to brighten up a deck or patio.
● Perennials- keep these plants free of fallen debris and remove any growth which looks bad but be careful not to remove cover from the base of these plants as this may allow the cold to damage the plant.
● Check all large shrubs and trees for wind damage; stake and tie.
● Cover crowns of tree ferns and palms if very cold or in snow with horticulture fleece.
● Cover your compost area with heavy plastic to speed up the composting process.
● Add mulch. It will help keep root temperatures stable.