Your Garden This Month: May
If you get the chance to get up into the Adelaide Hills through the autumn months, have a look at the changing leaf tones of the European trees. They are truly stunning this time of year.
As your leaves start to fall from your stone fruit trees, it should trigger a thought about protecting your trees from curly leaf and other fungal problems. Usually a copper product should be sprayed on the trees with a winter oil, from about 10% leaf fall, right through to pink tipping of blossom. This will form a chemical barrier on the tree, protecting it from airborne fungal spores, and in doing so, protect the tree from a range of fungal problems. Keep removing the dead leaves as they fall, this will also reduce the number of airborne spores coming from the dead drying leaves.
When taking the net off your fruit trees, hose down the net with disinfectant if you have suffered any fungal issues or had ripe or rotten fruit in it. This will prevent transfer of disease onto next year’s fruit, and may be stop any vermin chewing through your net if it tastes sweet.
As I mentioned in the last blog, feed your lawns with product that will store root energy rather that expend it producing leaf tip. While Santa Ana Couch is considered an all-round lawn, as its growth starts slowing down, avoid cutting it too short—otherwise it will be slow to recover as ground gets colder, and may look brown all winter. Mowing should be just to tidy up without much cutting. Mowing frequency can go out 4 -5 weeks in winter.
We tend not to recommend laying turf this late in the season, as the turf sample tends to lose it’s integrity. If the ground cools down quickly, and turf is dormant, it may not have a chance to produce enough root system to knit into the ground before winter.
Autumn and winter is certainly a great time to prepare and condition the soil, especially if you are considering planting trees. Preparing holes, digging in some compost and watering it in with some Seasol is an ideal way to prepare for a successful planting. If you are looking after established trees, clearing the grass around them, mulching and composting them to build up your soil life, is great orchard management.
Roses can be pruned a bit lower when you are dead heading to avoid cane snapping in Autumn winds. Remember to dispose of the leaf fall to avoid returning nasties back into the soil. Any evidence of black spot or downy mildew, give them a puff of fungicide to clean them up before winter.
Remember cold dry weather can be a time when we are fooled into thinking plants don’t need too much water. However, this weather combination can place a lot of stress on trees and plants. Don’t cut the water supply until you see the rains. Long-range forecasters are saying we’re in for a dry April and May this year, so keep the water up to your garden if the weather stays dry.
If you plan on planting any bare root trees this year, you should get your order in as soon as you can to avoid your variety being sold out early.