Your Garden This Month: February
Now it’s time to look at those fruit trees that have finished fruiting, and remove the nets. Take care when removing them, not to tear holes in your net. Rather than just rip them off, cut the new shoots off the top of the tree that are growing through the net. This will prevent damage to the net and to the tree.
Summer after fruiting is also a good time for a light prune and fertilise, this will help to regulate the growth of your tree. Avoid cutting more than a third of the canopy off, as this could adversely affect your tree’s health.
It is also a good idea to remove any damaged fruit from the tree, or fruit that has rot or insects in it. Aim to leave the tree totally bare after the fruiting season. Look for damage or disease on any limbs of the tree and remove them too.
Lawns can still be cored or scarified as they will still be actively growing through the next couple of months. Look for fungal problems when weather is wet and humid or when the hours of leaf wetness are prolonged i.e. over 11 hours. Large messy dead patches in the lawn, where you can pull the grass out easily, are nearly always African Lawn Beetle attacks. Three month residual treatments are usually the most effective, one in the middle of October, and one in middle of January.
Monthly checks of irrigation system components, including fault alerts on controller panel, will pick up any problems before they start causing issues in the garden. Check valve boxes for water, make sure all stations are working efficiently, look for broken pop-up sprinkler heads and look for dry areas or wilting plants. Set controllers to 110% watering on seasonal adjustment if you are away for a few days, as weather has been a bit unpredictable, and we are due for a heat spike.
Roses have had a bit of a hit from the hot weather just recently. Dead head them, give them another light fertilise, and clean any weeds or suckers away from the base of the rose bush. A watering with Seasol will help if they are a bit stressed from heat, and mulch will help too. Black Spot and other fungal issues can also be effecting your roses at the moment, so check the leaves for dark spots, yellowing, or any discolouration, and treat with a fungicide before the bush is badly affected, as it can spread quickly when the weather is conducive.
Weeds are having a bit of a party out there. Pull out the ones that are going to seed. This will help you catch up, and spray the large outbreaks while still flat on the ground at rosette stage. Mulch cover is also a good way to suppress them, and it will make cultivate weeding much easier.
Still time to plant summer veggies, so get those planter boxes replenished, if they are looking light on, or have been neglected.
As the soil is warm and life in the soil biota is very active, feed the microbes and good bugs in the soil. This can be achieved with compost and liquid humate. Also keeping the soil cool and moist will protect the eco system of your soils and keep those worms closer to your plants where they are needed.
Just lastly a simple tip: If you water with a hose and don’t have a tap timer, get one! They are not that expensive, and could save you a lot of money if you forget the tap is running and leave it on all night!
Keep enjoying your garden, and we will catch up with you next month.