Your Garden This Month: June
They say prune in June. True or False?
Sure, when leaves have fallen, it’s a good time to prune since this is normally a sign that energy from the leaves has returned to the root system and the plant’s system is usually dormant.
However, there are also some other things to consider. For instance, in the Adelaide Hills, pruning roses too early in winter (i.e. in June) could mean early budding would see frost damage to the first bud tips when the rose starts to shoot.
Usually with fruit trees (such as apricots, almonds or cherries) prone to wood rotting diseases, winter pruning can be detrimental to the tree’s health. However, late winter to early spring can often present better opportunities to prune, when sap has started to flow in the tree, and the tree has the ability to heal faster.
When pruning fruit trees, first remove any old fruit carcasses from the tree and as much as the leaf fall. I would advise not to mulch fruit tree leaves around the trees, but rather dispose of them. Pruning should then aim to firstly remove any dead limbs or twigs, any branches that are poor in vigour or have any disease evident. Then remove any crossing limbs that are rubbing against each other. Finish by lowering the top of your tree to the height you’d like to maintain.
The start of winter presents a host of fungal problems to stone fruit. Copper spraying is advisable to protect the tree from this problem. Adding some spraying oil with your copper spray will help it to stick to the tree for longer periods of time, even during rain events. It will need to be re-applied after consistent rainfall.
Winter fungal problems can also be hard on some summer active grass species, particularly hybrid couches that are dormant in winter. Keep an eye on your lawn throughout winter and early spring. Make sure there are no dead patches appearing in your lawn, particularly after periods of rain that are longer than 11 hours, and after thunderstorm activity when soils are dry.
Don’t forget that fruit trees, roses and ornamental love to be planted in winter. Most can be sourced bare rooted and can benefit from a good start in our winter rains. My general rule of thumb is not to fertilise bare rooted trees. Simply dig a small amount of well-rotted compost, or a handful of Seamungus to activate the soil biota, and plant them and water.
Enjoy the winter rain when it gets here.