What Is the Best Time to Plant?

Autumn – Is the best time for planting as the hot summer has passed with less heat in the sun and dryness in weather. The plants have an opportunity rest, get established before the summer returns. Be aware in winter the ground can get too cold in some areas for planting. Spring is also a great time to plant as the ground is starting to warm up but do remember that summer is just around the corner.

What Should I Feed My Plants?

Never throw those banana skins out. Just chop them up and place them around the base of your roses. They love them.

March
Citrus trees and most plants should be fed.

June
Orchids. When flower spikes are forming watch out for slugs and snails.

July
Sprinkling wood ash can deter pests and feeds blossoms. For citrus place wood ash around the base of the trees. As in August this will reduce dry rot/borer cycle and boost new growth.

September
Early spring is a great time to feed your garden.

October
Feed citrus trees.

What Is the Best Time for Pruning?

Below is a list of the most common plants that I prune. Remember when pruning trees-any branch larger than your thumbnail gets pruning paste. Midwinter is best for deciduous trees make sure to pick a cold, fine day to prune. This way there is less chances of having bacteria and fungi problems. The general rule is to only prune no more than one third of the tree in one year.

January
Light prune fruit trees. In stone fruits it can sometimes replace winter pruning and reduce silver leaf disease. Light prune roses I have found this encourages a longer and more plentiful flowering.

April
Trim back coprosmas, lavenders, hebes and choisya ternate this way they will still have time to recover before winter.

July
Prune roses (in warmer climates), hedges, conifers and non-spring flowering ornamental shrubs and trees. Hydrangers cut out weak canes and prune back the stronger ones 2 or 3 plump buds.

August
Prune roses (in colder climates), citrus trees, fruiting vines and bushes.

September
Hibiscus(should cut two-thirds of previous year’s growth removed), Bouganvillea & citrus trees.

October/November
Olive trees (even though the tree will lose some of its crop) this is better than pruning in winter as you don’t want the new cuts getting wet. Trim Camellia’s and feed.

What poisonous plants should I look out for?

There is a lot of poisonous plants out there but I have compiled a small list of what I find the most common ones I see. Oleander & Foxgloves can cause serious cardiac issues. Daffodils the flower itself would cause vomiting but eating the bulb would require hospitalisation. Euphorbia “spurge” herbs or shrubs which has a highly irritating white, latex –like sap. If your eyes gets exposed to the sap and is left untreated this can result in blindness. The NZ Karaka contains a toxin in its kernels which dogs have died from eating.

What Should I Know before Planting Trees and Shrub?

Always remember to look at your plant before placing it firmly into the ground. The shape and angle are important when viewing your plant. There is always a better angle/side of every plant and while planting it’s vital to stand back and look at your plant before the final stages are applied. Use some slow release fertilizer into the hole and water-if planting in a dryer climate.

Always stake trees this will stop the tree from wiggling and coursing a gap in the ground. A gap will create air to get to the roots and damage or worse kill your tree. Never pile grass clippings right up against the trunk of your tree. After a period of time this will indirectly be like ring-barking and the tree will get sick.

Are There any Alternative Sprays I Could Use?

Controlling Sooty Mould on Citrus Trees
Mix 1 tblsp of baking soda, 1 tblspn of dishwashing liquid and 1 tblspn of vegetable oil into 1 Litre of water. Don’t forget to spray both sides of leaves.

Powdery Mildew Spray
Mix one part milk to ten parts water. Apply every 7-10 days.

Organic Weed Spray
2 Ltrs white vinegar, 1 cup of salt and a squirt of dishwashing liquid. Mix well so that the salt is dissolved.