Garden Checklist - 11 Jobs to Get Ready for Spring
Is your garden spring ready?
1. Control Your Weeds
Winter is a great time to prepare your garden for spring. While things are still fairly slow outside plant, sow, weed and prune before busy months ahead get on top of you.
Dig out weeds after rain to make the job easier. Use a weeding fork to ease out weeds and their roots in lawns and in between plants and pavers. If you have left it too late and there are already seeds on weedy plants, snip them off and put them in the garbage. For hard to control weeds such as onion weed and oxalis it might be necessary to use a targeted herbicide and spray an a still day to avoid any drift.
2. Snip for Better Growth
Finish pruning roses in August by first cutting out any dead or diseased growth with clean and sharp secateurs or a pruning saw for large branches. Start removing growth in the centre of the bush to improve air circulation. Finally reduce long branches by about one third to half. Look for an outward facing bud and cut just above it at a slight angle.
3. Repot Plants
Plants that have been in the same pot for a long period can start suffering if they have outgrown their pot or the potting mix has used up all its nutrients. Ease the plant out of its pot and remove one third of the root ball with a sharp knife. Cut off any roots that are growing in a circular pattern and gently untangle small roots with your fingers. Repot into a slightly larger container filling with fresh potting mix and firming the plant in. Water thoroughly and feed with a liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks.
4. Create a Tough Turf
Use a garden fork to push holes into your lawn about 50mm deep at 100mm intervals. Spread a thin layer of top soil evenly over the aerated lawn and water enough that the top dressing fills in the holes. For larger areas of turf you can hire a spiked lawn aerator that you fill with water and push to create air holes then follow the same directions as above.
6. Grow Some Fruit Trees
What better way to enjoy fruit than freshly picked off the tree with no pesticides and no cold storage. Buy deciduous trees now and plant in a hole twice the width of the pot and the same depth. Remove the plant from the pot and lightly tease out the roots on the side. Pop it in the hole and fill in with soil making sure there are no air pockets. Firm down, sprinkle a slow release fertiliser over the soil and water well.
5. Ban Bindi
Avoid the summer sting of bindii by spraying your lawn with a product like Yates Weed 'n' Feed to kill the bindii and fertiliser the turf. If you leave it too long the weed becomes prickly and is spread even wider to cause bigger head aches (and foot aches) for next summer.
7. Plant Lots of Leaves
Plant lettuce and rocket seedlings straight into garden beds and sow tomato seeds in a mini greenhouse to have a home-grown salad ready to harvest for the lunch table in spring.
8. Make Healthy Soil
Test the pH of your soil to see if it needs any nutrients added for healthy plant growth. A pH of 7 is neutral, 1 is very acid and 14 is very alkaline. Kits are available from most nurseries and hardware stores. Follow the directions and test samples from different areas of your garden. Add compost or manure to make the soil more acid and garden lime to create a more alkaline soil.
9. Feed Hungry Citrus
Feed citrus trees in pots and the ground with a complete fertiliser to encourage juicy fruit. Remove any weeds or grass growing around the roots of your citrus plants then sprinkle over the fertiliser and water well. Add a 70-100mm layer of mulch to keep the moisture in but keep it away from the trunk of the tree to avoid rot.
10. Keep Pests Away
Spray stone fruit trees like peaches, plums and apricots with lime sulfur after pruning. This will kill any pests hiding in any cracks or crevices in winter that can become a problem in spring. It also helps control peach leaf curl which is a common problem with many peach trees.
11. Fertilise for Flowers
As soon as temperatures are steadily rising feed popular plants like gardenia, murraya, and hydrangea with a fertiliser including flower food. This helps to encourage more flowers and healthy leaf growth. Don't forget to water in well and water regularly if there is little rainfall.