The truth about autumn and winter gardening

Be more proactive in the garden

Many people associate summer and spring as perfect planting weather, but don’t be fooled by warmer temperatures. In Australia, spring periods can be brief and summers vicious. Autumn is actually the perfect time for planting. Autumn and winter are fairly gentle and will allow your plants to settle in and produce many roots prior to a hot summer.

Putting the garden to bed for the winter is more than just a matter of cleaning and covering up. As signs of cooler weather rear their heads, plants prepare for dormancy. Clearing out the dead stems and foliage and removing leaf litter will reduce the possibility of their harbouring disease, pathogens, and insect eggs over the winter, which will ensure their survival over the colder months.

While it appears as if all activity in the garden has stopped, there’s a lot going on under the soil. Trees and shrubs are all growing roots, drawing on soil nutrients and the moisture around them.

Earthworms and microbes in the soil are still processing the organic material they’re finding. Most likely, the mulch you spread to protect the soil during the summer months has substantially decomposed as well. It’s important to spread new mulch – a thicker layer – to protect plants and soil over the cooler months. The idea is not so much to keep the soil warm, as it is to keep the temperature even.

Here are some additional tips on how to maintain your garden during winter and autumn:

  • Plants can regenerate from root cuttings. Remove lower leaves from the plant and cut beneath a node using sharp scissors. Dip cuttings into hormone powder and pot in small containers with a premium potting mix. Keep them moist and shelter them from strong wind and sun.
  • Rejuvenate tired lawns with an autumn feeding to prepare them for the onset of the cool winter weather.
  • Transfer the leaves that fall on your garden and lawn to the compost bin on a regular basis. Believe it or not, they will smother your plants and grass.
  • Move potted tropical plants into more protected spots – perhaps onto a veranda or porch.
  • Reduce watering of your potted plants as they require far less water when the weather’s cooler.
  • Prepare planting holes for new roses and fruit trees by digging compost and well-aged manure into the soil.
  • Construct protective frames around the plants that are likely to be damaged by the cold.

TDL recommends that clients have their gardens mulched over the winter months. We recommend enriching the soil with organic materials, soil wetting agents, and slow-release fertilisers. This ensures that your garden has everything it needs to be in full bloom, bringing your garden to life and giving you a dazzling display when the warmer spring months arrive.

If you are interested in having this work completed over the cooler months, please feel free to contact us and we’ll provide you with an obligation-free quote.