It’s easy to abandon the garden once winter hits. The morning frost, cold earth and grey weather can make yard work look like an unnecessary evil at this time of the year. However, if you put the time and effort into your garden during winter, you’re more likely to reap the rewards of a beautiful garden come spring.
“The secret to having the best spring garden is to get it ready during the cooler months, so when the warmth hits the soil, your plants will thrive,” says John Arnett, Manager of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne. “With cooler conditions, it’s a less physically demanding time to work; soils are moist and there are many plants that undertake all of their annual growth cycle at this time of year.”
Clean up Autumn Leaves
“Winter follows the most leafy of seasons. Be sure to clean up the last of the autumn leaves with a blower or blower vac as leaves can become slippery after rain. If they are not cleared they can also be detrimental to your lawn and smother small plants.”
Watch out for frost
“Winter is a time to watch out for frosts. A sensible solution to frosts is to plant frost tender plants in protected areas and more tolerant plants out in the open.”
Select plants that are tolerant of wetter soils
“Winter can cause issues with heavy soil drainage. Try selecting plants that are more tolerant of wetter soils in areas that are likely to get boggy.”
Prune your plants and trees
“Winter is rose pruning time and a great opportunity to reshape trees with a chainsaw or pole pruner, in particular deciduous trees that have shed their leaves during autumn.”
Maintain your lawns
“Although lawn growth does slow down in winter it will still require some attention with a lawn mower. Rye grasses and Fescues will be more active over the cooler months but it may already be too late for these grasses to be successfully established from seed. Make sure to watch out for broad leaved weeds that can thrive in winter time.”
Keep the edges neat and tidy
“Don’t forget to trim the edges of your lawn. This is a year round job which requires maintenance throughout all seasons. Be aware that grassy weeds are actively growing at this time of the year and can be easily managed with grass trimmers.”
Plant to optimise your conditions
“Try to position plants where they are best suited in regards to your location’s microclimates and the plant’s specific needs. If you are growing a sun-loving species with a north facing aspect you will need to allow these plants to take full advantage of sunny breaks through the winter months.”
John’s top 5 favourite garden tools:
Safety first! Always wear sturdy gloves, goggles and close-toed shoes.
Tidying up is made a lot easier with a STIHL blower-vac.
A quality grass trimmer cuts the job of edging in half.
Cut through any branches with ease with a chainsaw.
A battery-operated lawn mower will ensure that your neighbours can sleep in on a cold winter’s morning.
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