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Posted on 26 July, 2018 in Updates, Tips & Tricks

Winter garden tips to prepare for Spring

By Binstadt Steve

The weather may be colder, but Winter is the ideal time to get outside and put some work into your garden. Not only will you be rewarded with a more resilient, more productive garden, it’s also a fantastic way to exercise and catch some much-needed rays of sunshine.

Photo of lady working in her Winter garden

In Port Macquarie we are lucky enough to enjoy mostly sunny days during Winter, so why not head out to your yard this weekend, invest some time into your garden and see how you are rewarded tenfold, come Summer.

Here are some Winter garden tips to help you achieve a healthier, more fruitful garden over the warmer months.

Try not to over-mow your lawn

Did you know that your lawn lies dormant during Winter? While your lawn is hibernating for Winter, it is focussing all its energy on growing its roots deeper, which means most of the growth is happening under the ground, and not much is happening up top. That means you don’t need to mow it as often. Letting your grass grow a little longer during winter will also encourage the roots to grow deeper into the soil which means it will be more resistant to dry periods, especially in Summer when the weather is warmer. It will also mean that your lawn won’t get so stressed out if you are watering it less.

Photo of freshly mowed lawn

You should also avoid mowing your lawn when it is wet. Mowing while the lawn is wet can damage the grass because it is not a clean cut. It also causes the clippings to clump, which makes your job harder when emptying the catcher. So, if there’s been a bit of rain or a heavy dew overnight, wait until the late afternoon when the blades of grass are drier, before whipping out the mower.

Decrease watering habits

Did you know you can train you lawn to use less water? Regardless of season, get your lawn into the habit of only expecting one good soak per week. The lawn will come to only expect water every now and then and will naturally grow its roots even deeper, looking for water in the soil. The result is a lawn that is more drought resilient and over time it will require less water. During the colder months, you can reduce this down even further. Dormant lawns can survive 3 or 4 weeks without any water, and if there is rain during winter this means you can take most of the season off. Your water saving habits will save you money in the long run too!

Change up your indoor plant care plans

Indoor plants make a great addition to any home. They bring the outdoors in and create a sense of warmth and calm to the rooms, especially on a cold, Winter’s day. They can also help to improve the air quality in your house. During the cooler months, the needs of our indoor plants can change so it’s important to remember the following tips to ensure their long-term health:

  • Dial down the watering schedule. Your plants will require less water over Winter as their soil won’t dry out as much. It’s easy to see if they do need a drink, as their foliage will start to droop.
  • Let there be light! Try to position your indoor plants in places where they will capture the amount of light and warmth that they need. If need be, move them outside for a few hours each week to make sure they are getting enough sunshine in their lives!
  • Dust your plants off to ensure that the leaves are able to breathe. This allows them to properly photosynthesise and will mean that your air quality inside is better overall.
  • For plants that are located near heater ducts, fans or fire places, give them a light mist spray with water every now and then to increase the humidity around the plant and stop it from drying out.

Photo of fern in lounge room

Avoid over-pruning plants

Winter is a good time to prune plants and shrubs, getting them ready for abundant flowering once the weather warms up. It is important to remember however to not over-prune. Be sure to only prune plants that normally flower in Summer and Autumn. The best time to do this is in late Winter and early Spring.

Don’t fertilise during Winter

While your lawn is lying dormant, hold off on your usual fertilisation habits. Because the lawn is dormant, it might look a little worse for wear. This is because your lawn is focussing all its energy on growing the roots underground. But once things warm up in Spring it will start to go green again. Fertilising during Winter won’t bring any benefit to your lawn, because it’s sleeping! So, don’t waste your time or money.

‘Spring clean’ your Winter garden

During Winter is a good time to remove lawn and garden weeds, using a selective herbicide. A selective herbicide is designed to only kill a certain species of plants, such as grasses or broad leaf weeds. Head to your local Bunnings and ask the staff to help you if you need assistance choosing the right product for your lawn, or click here to see some of your options.

Once your weeding is done, now is the time to mulch your garden. Rake up all the fallen leaves, twigs and bark from your lawn, and use them in your mulch. Mulching not only helps prevent more weeds from springing up, it also keeps the garden beds to retain heat and moisture. Remember to clear some of the mulch away from the base of the plant as the weather warms up. This allows the ‘crown’ of the plant to access the nutrients, warmth and moisture it requires for further growth over Spring and Summer.

Photo of leaves being raked

Provided that the ground is dry, Winter is the prime time to aerate the soil in your lawn and garden beds. It’s also a fantastic time to prepare the soil for your Summer veggie patch. Once the vegetable patch is prepared, plant some crops such as snow peas, English spinach or perpetual varieties of lettuce.

Useful resources

Hopefully our Winter garden tips above have inspired you to get out and give your garden a tune up in time for the warmer months; if you need more information on Winter garden jobs and how to do them, check out some of these useful resources:

Relax and enjoy!

Once you’ve finished all your garden maintenance, why not head into Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge for a refreshing drink and toast to your Summer garden. Your life just got a little bit easier now that you’ve got your winter gardening out of the way!

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