Melville Times - - Lifestyle -

THE cooler au­tumn weather has set in and now is the time to pick up the tools and work in the gar­den.

Put in time and ef­fort now and not only will the yard look neat and tidy through­out the win­ter months, but you will also have a head start for the main spring clean.

AMES Aus­trala­sia gives us a guide to the ideal gar­den tidy-up in four easy steps. 1. Clear the de­bris

If your gar­den is very green, then chances are you’ll spend a lot of time rak­ing up leaves, which can fall on many sur­faces. It’s im­por­tant to re­move fallen leaves from the lawn as soon as pos­si­ble, as leaves can be­come wet from rain and morn­ing dew, then stick to­gether and form a thick layer that will suf­fo­cate the grass and breed fun­gal dis­eases. These leaves can also be com­posted, so a heavy-duty gar­den bag is ideal for col­lect­ing any fo­liage waste. 2. Prune ex­cess veg­e­ta­tion

In sum­mer a gar­den can ex­pe­ri­ence a lot of growth, so now is the time to prune ex­cess veg­e­ta­tion and dead or dam­aged branches and flow­ers. Prun­ing also helps pro­mote new growth, more flow­er­ing and fruit, as well as cre­ate shapely, at­trac­tive plants. It also helps al­low more light into the gar­den dur­ing win­ter. As a gen­eral rule, don’t cut more than a third off a plant. 3. Feed and tidy lawns, bor­ders and gar­den beds

This in­cludes get­ting on top of weeds so they’ll be less trou­ble come spring. Use mulch to pro­tect plants over win­ter, which lim­its weed growth, im­proves soil struc­ture and shields from cold tem­per­a­tures. 4. Get plant­ing

Au­tumn is a great time to plant be­cause the air is hu­mid and soil is moist, and it gives the plant a head start com­ing into win­ter. Be­fore plant­ing, con­sider the lay­out of your gar­den, as a good gar­den starts with a good de­sign. Plant­ing a tree or bulbs in the right spot where they get the best pos­si­ble grow­ing con­di­tions means you can have a highly pro­duc­tive gar­den with a lot less work and a gar­den over­flow­ing with colour.

It is im­por­tant to re­move fallen leaves from the lawn as soon as pos­si­ble.

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