Lifestyle

Spring into summer action

By Shepparton News

The harsh summer heat can wreak havoc on the garden, but with some care and attention your patch of paradise can remain a calming retreat.

By ensuring the efficiency of your irrigation system, using mulch and utilising existing shade to its full potential, your private backyard oasis will survive the season and continue to flourish.

Sally Moseley from Billabong Garden Complex in Shepparton said the lengthening spring days were the perfect time to toil in your garden, and the better you prepare now, the less time you will have to spend working on it during the hotter months.

Summer planning

Aerate and feed your lawn now for strong growth and good health to withstand the heat.

Run your sprinkler system and look for blockages, leaking or overwatering so you can fix any problems before the heat arrives.

Weed and apply mulch to garden beds and around trees to prepare them for summer.

Sugar cane mulch, pea straw or lucerne hay are great forms of mulch and return nutrients back to the soil.

Think about any pots you have in the garden and if you need to move them come summer.

Group them under a big tree or arrange them in your entertaining area for a splash of colour and protection from the heat and wind.

Place a bird bath under a tree. This not only helps the birds on a hot day, but is a great garden feature.

When it comes to watering, remember a good lengthy soaking is more beneficial than a little water every day.

Spring tasks

Feed citrus and fruit trees now, as well as winter-flowering plants such as camellia, grevillea and boronia.

Feed roses now as they put all their energy into producing new leaves and blooms.

Spraying with lime sulfur is a good choice for spring as it will generally kill fungus spores or black spot that have developed in winter. An additional spray of white oil will help smother any pest insect eggs and larvae.

Spring is a great time to revamp your pots; repot plants into fresh potting mix, fertilise and add water crystals.

Now is the time to prepare your vegetable gardens for fresh summer produce.

Revitalise the soil with quality compost and mulch with pea straw, lucerne hay or sugar cane mulch, which breaks down into the soil and invites the worms to come in.

Protect young vegetable plants from late frosts and consider companion planting, such as planting marigolds, which encourage the good bugs to visit but deter the ones that cause damage.