AWESOME AUTUMN – a busy time of year for the gardening enthusiasts and a busy time for nature!
The crisp morning air is a sign that autumn arrived in all its glory. Day length decreases, day temperatures drop and growth slows down. To ensure a glorious winter and spring garden, there are many tasks to be performed in die garden.
Trees and Shrubs
March is the ideal time to plant trees and shrubs in order to establish roots well before winter arrives. It is also the ideal time to move and replant trees and shrubs as the soil temperature is still quite warm after the summer and there is still enough time for the plants to establish their roots before the cold of winter.
Contrary to belief, plants do grow during winter, but use their energy to establish roots instead of flowers, fruit or leaves. If the soil temperature does not drop below zero, the roots will continue to grow throughout the winter.
A wide variety of bulbs are now available in your favourite nursery or retailer. Bulbs require well composted soil and lots of nutrition. Feed bulbs with NutriGreen Flower Power or Rose and Guanoflo. Good drainage is essential. If you have clay soil, add river sand to your soil. Plant the bulbs in dense groups for a spectacular display of colour. Cover with a layer of mulch. Plant Ranunculi, Anemones, daffodils, hyacinths and freesias at two-week intervals as soon as the soil temperatures have cooled down. Water bulbs deeply every 4 days.
There is a wide variety of seedlings available this time of year. Petunias flower for months on end and pansies and violets are reliable and faithful in full sun or semi shade. Primulas are easy to grow, can be planted in the shade and will flower for extended periods. Lobelias grow in full sun or semi shade. Cinerarias also grow well in the shade. Add colour and fill gaps in your autumn garden with pelargoniums, salvias, diascia and for a low maintenance option, plant ornamental grasses now. Feed your flowering plants regularly with NutriGreen Flower Power or Rose and Flower Fertiliser 8:1:5 and ornamental grasses with NutriGreen Gro Green or Lawn and Foliage Fertiliser 7:1:3.
Prepare the soil by digging it over to a depth of 30 cm, add a thick layer of compost and work it into the soil. Add Garden Phosphate or NutriGreen Gwano Pellets for strong root development.
- Sow winter veggies like carrots, radishes, peas, spinach, cauliflower, beetroot, cabbage and lettuce. Larger size seeds like peas and beetroot can be sown directly in the soil. When sowing fine seeds, make use of seedling trays to later transplant into veggie patch. Stagger planting at intervals every 3 to 4 weeks. When sowing fine seeds directly into the soil, eg carrot seed, mix the seed with a little sand before sprinkling it over the surface of the soil in order to distribute seeds evenly.
- Sow herbs like chives, coriander, garlic, mustard, rocket and parsley.
- Sow flower seed like bokbaaivygies, petunias, lobelia, poppies, sweet peas (remember to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water), calendula, Namaqualand daisies and primulas.
- March is the ideal time to sow Pro-Lawn all seasons grass mix. This superb turf quality lawn stays green throughout the year, grows in full sun, semi-shade and full shade conditions and is frost resistant. Germination can be expected 5 – 10 days after sowing.
When planting seeds, always follow the instructions on the reverse side of the seed packet.
Roses are spectacular in autumn and to ensure that they bloom before dormancy sets in, fertilise for the last time with Rose & Flower Fertiliser 8:1:5 or NutriGreen Flower Power. To avoid fungal infections, spray regularly with Tenazole. Apply Complete 350SC as a soil drench against sucking and biting insects. It is important to water regularly.
Lightly prune untidy creepers, trees and shrubs as well as hedges but do not prune harshly as it will encourage new growth and the shoots will be damaged by the winter cold. Prune summer flowering shrubs, but do not prune winter or early spring flowering shrubs. Deadhead annuals and perennials to prolong flowering.
Autumn is the ideal time to divide and replant perennials thereby ensuring flowering in summer.
It is important to raise the height of your lawnmower blades. Rake any fallen autumn leaves to prevent the outbreak of fungal diseases. Treat your lawn preventatively against fungal infections with Mycoguard. Be on the lookout for any insects on the lawn, eg mole crickets and army worm. Juvenile molecrickets can be treated with Imidor 350 SC and army worm with Kemprin or Knox Worm. You still need to feed your lawn this time of the year with a balanced fertiliser like General Fertiliser 2:3:2 or NutriGreen Gwano Pellets in order to ensure strong root growth. Water the lawn every 4 days. Autumn is also the best time to sow cool season grass like Pro Lawn All Seasons Grass Mix.
Due to lower temperatures, there is a higher volume of water available in the soil available to plants as evaporation decreases due to cooler daytime temperatures. As the shadow patterns in your garden changes at the turn of the season, summer sunny areas may now become autumn shady areas. Adapt to the changing climate and gradually reduce watering. Too much water can cause root rot but remember that new plantings should always remain moist.
With new plantings, it is important to stimulate root development by applying Protek Garden Phosphate or Protek General Fertiliser 2.3.2.
Fertilize your entire garden including your lawn, bulbs and seedlings every 4 weeks with the NutriGreen range of organic and organic based fertiliser. The NutriGreen range contains the three most important nutrient elements, ie. Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P) and Potassium (K). It also contains many important micro elements that plants require for healthy growth such as Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn) and Barium (B) to name but a few. Zinc is especially important as it assists plants to resist the low temperatures.
General Diseases and Pests
Mildew, rust and powdery mildew are just a few of the fungal infections that are rife just before winter. Treat preventatively with Protek Mycoguard, but if fungus is already prevalent, apply Protek Tenazole, a systemic fungicide, to prevent the fungi from spreading.
Ants are everywhere collecting food for the winter. To ensure that they do not hibernate in your lawn, you can get rid of them by applying Protek Nip-it Ant Control. Nip-it will destroy the nest, including the queen, within a few days. Treat the rest of your garden with Protek Imidor 350 SC, a systemic insecticide that should keep insects at bay until the start of winter. Imidor or not only controls mole crickets, but also a variety of aphids and is extremely effective against the dreaded Italian cypress aphid.
Snails and slugs can cause havoc in your seedling and bulb garden beds. Get rid of these munching molluscs by applying Protek Snails in the late afternoon.
Also look out for wood destroying termites. These termites cause massive damage to buildings and other wooden structures and are often undetected until the timber is severely damaged. You can prevent the destruction by preventative or corrective trench, nest and foundation treatment with Protek Terminex 350 SC which provides fast, long residual action and control
Harvester termites “harvest” dead and living plant matter and can cause damage to grass, leaves, herbaceous twigs and seedlings. They will invade and cause significant damage to lawns and gardens, to the extent of complete destruction. Stop the destruction with Termite Stop ready to use bait packed in an easy to use, convenient shaker.
Remember there is a decrease in food availability for rodents. Prevent them from coming into your home for food by controlling them Protek’s range of single feed, ready to use rodenticides. The Kill All range consists of a liquid, wax block and pellet bait whilst the Rodex range consist of grain and paste bait. Always use a bait station for safer control these disease-causing rodents.
Combat broad leaf weeds on your lawn with a selective herbicide, Versus or for a ready to use option, apply Scatterkill for Weeds. Clear All or Clear Pave are non-selective herbicides and will get rid of all broadleaf weeds and annual and perennial grass on your paving.
WHEN APPLYING PESTICIDES, ALWAYS READ THE LABEL CAREFULLY AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.
Do not let the approaching winter give you cold feet when it comes to gardening. Use the last warm days to create a smoking hot winter garden.