Get­ting ready for spring

It’s time to crack on in the gar­den be­fore the end of win­ter, writes Robyn Wil­lis

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - DECORATE - Robyn.wil­ More

The weather might still be a lit­tle cool out­side but your gar­den is al­most ready to burst into new sea­son growth.

With spring just around the cor­ner, it’s time to seize the day and get a han­dle on all those last minute win­ter tasks.

Di­rec­tor of Lan­dart Land­scapes Matt Leacy, says it’s your last chance this sea­son to get stuck into prun­ing over­grown trees, shrubs and vines be­fore they start set­ting new growth.

“Gar­dens need a thor­ough trim and tidy up af­ter the au­tumn and win­ter sea­sons,” he says.

“En­sure that any or­na­men­tal grasses like poa and mis­cant­hus are cut to about 100 to 200mm above the ground and that any shrubs that like to flower in spring, like bot­tle­brush, are pruned well be­fore their flow­er­ing month.”

Killer in­stinct

Weeds are a gar­dener’s arch neme­sis but they are much eas­ier to deal with be­fore they be­gin to flower and set seed.

If you haven’t al­ready, Matt says it’s a good idea to re­ally get stuck into the weed­ing.

“Make sure any weeds that may have sprouted dur­ing the pre­vi­ous sea­son are pulled out and com­pletely re­moved from the gar­den,” he says.

Peren­nial weeds like sting­ing net­tle are best dealt with at this time of year, al­though be sure to wear gar­den gloves.

Weeds with bulbs, like onion weed, are of­ten eas­i­est to re­move when the soil is still damp. Be sure to get all the bulbs or risk the plant grow­ing against next sea­son.

Al­ter­na­tively, you can starve weeds of light with heavy mulching, which will ben­e­fit the whole gar­den.

“Mulch will be your best friend in prepar­ing for the sum­mer,” Matt says. “It pro­vides in­su­la­tion and is a handy way to keep your soil cool and moist while act­ing as a pro­tec­tive layer from the sum­mer heat — it will also keep the weeds at bay.”

Be care­ful not to mulch against tree trunks or plant stems be­cause ex­cess mois­ture may cause the stems to rot.

“A depth of around 70mm to 100mm is a good thick­ness, and re­mem­ber to keep top­ping up the mulch as the sum­mer goes on,” Matt says.

Eas­ily biodegrad­able mulch works best such as lay­ers of damp news­pa­per cov­ered in a thick layer of sugar cane mulch.

If you’re keen to start a vegie patch, it’s the per­fect prepa­ra­tion for your seedlings.

New shoots

The most en­joy­able as­pect of spring is the ar­rival of new buds and flow­ers.

Matt says late win­ter and early spring is a good time to in­tro­duce new, young plants to your gar­den be­fore the heat of sum­mer starts to set in

“It gives the plant time to set­tle and the best chance of sur­viv­ing the sum­mer heat,” he says.

Con­sider go­ing with hardy plants such as westringia, or­na­men­tal grasses and ca­sua­r­ina, he says, so you can spend less time work­ing and more time en­joy­ing your gar­den.

The Pow­erGear X By­Pass tree lop­per from Fiskars makes easy work of tree branches.

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