Your Garden This Month: October
October time is mid-spring transitional time and just look at those amazing blossoms. I have seen some amazing crab apples this year.
Why is it a transitional time?
Mainly because the soil temperatures start to rise sparking the changes in our plants, that cause sap to flow.
This is also the time when many insects come out of their overwintering (hibernation), so gardeners must be on high alert to the incidence of aphid, white fly, citrus leaf miner, black peach aphid and other sucking and chewing insects.
This time of sap flow is a great time to plant citrus trees as they adapt better when planted into a warmer soil.
Summer annuals will do well if planted and hardened up before the very hot conditions are upon us.
At this time of growth spurt, fertilisers will aid and support trees and plants in keeping up with their production of blossom and flowering. Mulch will also help by retaining moisture around the plant or tree, keeping the roots cooler and suppressing the competing weed growth.
Soil conditioners and bio stimulants will also assist your trees and plants. By multiplying your soil organisms, plant food becomes more readily available and toxins and contaminants in the soil are degenerated by the abundance of soil microflora.
Lawns should be treated with an African lawn beetle preventative treatment before the second week of October, as this is the time when the larva become highly active.
Soils in our area can become quite hydrophobic (non-wetting) due to leaf and blossom fall and other environmental factors. For this reason, your lawn would benefit from a good quality soil wetter once a year to break down this waxy layer, restoring that consistent, even green colour.
Fertilising lawns this time of the year should aim to produce rapid leaf tip, so you should be upping the nitrogen content of your fertiliser. This will help the turf plant photosynthesise more plant energy thereby storing energy in the root system, ready to take on the summer heat or recover quickly from a summer scarify.
Coring the lawn at this time will also aid rapid growth though the oxygenation of the soil under the turf surface, and releasing the carbon dioxide from the soil. This will also alleviate the compaction and improve water movement through the soil.
Don’t leave it too late to check the irrigation system. We can become complacent through winter and forget about last year’s issues that were not resolved. Give it the once over just to be sure it is all ready to go, as irrigation blows up in the summer heat, and that is when everyone calls.
Another thing that can catch us out is a weather pattern of cold and dry. This can be a bad combination of weather because cold weather with dry soil can stress plants with low temperatures and lack of moisture. Often, we think cold and wet, however quite often it can be cold and dry. Just keep track of how much water your plants and trees are getting, check the moisture of your soil, and remember to water even if the weather is cold but dry.
It’s a good idea to check your fruit trees for dead branches in the canopy before they get to full leaf, as sometimes they are a bit hard to see when winter pruning. Also watch out for birds damaging the fruit buds, as they can be quite tasty. Using old CDs or rubber snakes tend to do the trick! (Rubber snakes also help keep birds, like Galahs, from attacking the lawn.)