Armidale gardening: Tackling those spring weeds

While the hot topic a month ago was the lack of rain, now that the spring break has relieved the dry, the current hot topic has become one of the weeds.

If you are away for a few days at this time of the year, when you return the garden will have changed. Plant growth rates are at their annual peak for the full-on spring splurge. Bare earth becomes a thing of the past and every square inch starts to fill. Of course, the weeds, too are in their peak growth time.

It is worth spending the time to become familiar with the juvenile form of the weeds that have made your garden home, particularly if you also grow self-seeding annuals or perennials as many seedlings look very similar. Weeds are much easier to deal with when they are small and it is worth making the time to tackle them, especially in the vegie garden.

Dahlias

It’s time to divide and plant out dahlias when shoots appear at the base of the stems. Tubers don’t shoot as new growth comes from dormant eyes and the base of old stems. Divide tubers so part of the stem is attached.

Except for dwarf varieties, dahlias are best staked and it is easiest to put the stake in the hole when planting. If you do it later, you risk piercing the tuber. Protect new dahlia growth from slugs and snails.

Spring tasks

Wander your garden in the evening and enjoy the heady scents of syringia (lilac) and Michelia figo (port wine magnolia). If you don’t have these shrubs, head to the nursery and  choose one.

Protect new growth on plants, especially hostas and lilliums, and in the vegie garden.

Continue to keep an eye out for forecast frosts and protect pumpkin, squash, cucumber, potatoes and beans.

Stake tall growing perennials before the flower spikes lengthen.

The Armidale Garden Club’s next meeting is on Thursday, October 26 at 7.30pm in the Uniting Church Hall. Everyone is welcome and supper is provided.