Late autumn is a good time to move plants to a new location, while there is still some warmth in the soil and there is no heat stress.
Trees and shrubs need to be dormant when moving them. For evergreen trees or shrubs, this is after flowering or fruiting while deciduous trees and shrubs are best moved in winter when they have lost their leaves.
When transplanting evergreens, try to keep soil around the plant, prune to reduce leaf area and spray with a foliar spray to help reduce stress. Water in well, stake and mulch.
The compost heap
As you clean up the garden, add soft green prunings and weeds to the compost heap. Aim to include 25-50 per cent soft green cuttings or manure with the rest brown materials such as prunings and dead autumn leaves and sprinkle alternate layers with blood and bone.
This helps create a balance of nitrogen-based and carbon-based materials which helps the compost break down. Turn the heap about once a month to keep it aerated and speed up the process. Your compost will be mature when it is dark and “earthy”.
Jobs for late autumn
- Divide dense clumps of early summer-flowering perennials such as iris, now to prevent overcrowding.
- Dig up parsnips from the ground only after the first frosts, when they will be sweeter.
- Also pick pumpkins after the first frosts and they will store better. Leave a 5-10cm section of the stem on the pumpkin and store in a cool dry place.
- Switch blades to a taller height when mowing the lawn.
- There is still just enough time to order spring bulbs and there are some good specials available now. The last of the season bulbs could be smaller and may not flower as well as those you purchase earlier in the season.
However, they will often catch up by their second year and sometimes the lower cost, especially for the rarer bulbs, can be worth the wait. Be sure to plant them as soon as you get them home.
The Armidale Garden Club has its next meeting in Thursday, May 25. This will start at the earlier time of 7pm at the Uniting Church Youth Club Hall.