With its mild climate, winter is a good time to get into the garden to sort your plants out while they are dormant. When leaves have dropped from your trees and shrubs it’s an ideal time to look at the overall design of your garden. If you can see room for improvement now is the time to make changes.
Plant deciduous trees, shrubs & cultivars
This is the perfect time to plant deciduous trees and shrubs. Have a look around your local parks and gardens for interesting specimens. Your local nursery can offer good advice about finding the perfect position in your garden. Smaller gardens lend themselves to new cultivars that won’t become forest giants. Now is also the time to move an evergreen shrub that might be in the wrong place. Take care to water it in its’ new home as it is not dormant. Deciduous shrubs are also best moved in winter.
Remove dead or diseased wood
Deciduous fruit trees need to have their dead or diseased wood removed and any branches that cross over others. Prune to an open shape to allow air flow and reduce height and to make picking produce easier.
A light prune will give shape
Deciduous shrubs need to be tidied up by removing dead or damaged branches. A light all-over prune will help keep a tight shrub shape and prevent it becoming ‘woody’.
Light pruning of trees and shrubs is ideal as they are not in peak growth. There will be plenty of weeds still so try to turn them in to make a green soil conditioner. As growth slows for many plants it is a good time to get on top of any pest plants that have taken hold. Speak to your local council or landcare group on what to look out for and how best to deal with noxious or pest plants
Lift and divide perennials
Perennials can be lifted and divided. Lifting your plants means you can rejuvenate the soil and plant new areas with leftover plants.
Compost fallen leaves
Keep the garden clean by composting fallen leaves. Make a plan to keep on top of weeds while they are small. Look at your local hardware shop for useful weeding tools to save time and effort. This is also the time to consider planting vegetables suited to the climate.
How to protect your garden in wet tropical climates
June in tropical/sub-tropical climates lends itself to adding trace element fertilisers to the soil around trees and shrubs as the high rainfall can lead to leaching of nutrients.
If parts of your garden have become waterlogged during the wet season, June is the time to make some changes. Some shrubs do not like having ‘wet feet’ and leaves will show signs of stress, e.g. limp and dull. Now is the time to lift the shrub and build up the soil into a mound with plenty of light organic material that will help with aeration. Inorganic materials (gravel, rocks or sand) can also be added to improve drainage as the water easily passes through. Plant into the mound so the root zone is above the surrounding ground level.
Enjoy winter gardening with these helpful tips!