Dry, dry times. Even some trees 30, 40 or more years old are showing signs of moisture stress.
The effects of drought on deciduous trees are often obvious such as wilting or shedding leaves. The effects of drought on conifers are often more subtle, such as wilted or drooping leaders or dropping more needles than usual.
Unlike deciduous trees, evergreen conifers are much less likely to recover if all of their foliage goes crispy and brown. Stay observant for dieback on conifers as once they show distinct signs of dying back, it can mean they have gone too far and cannot be saved.
Generally, we don’t think about watering big trees, but you may need to consider doing just that to prevent death or to bring a stressed tree back to health.
Get your spring-flowering bulb order in early to get the best choice and the best quality bulbs.
One option to consider is to water at low pressure using a soaker hose wound around the tree out to the drip line and leaving it on for four to six hours. This is more efficient than other methods and although the cost of water can add up, it’s cheaper than the cost of removing a large dead tree.
Drought-affected plants are more likely to be harmed than helped by fertiliser, so in summer and when very dry, there is no point in fertilising dry ground. Fertilising can promote growth and in fact increase a tree’s water requirements. Always fertilise moist soil and water well after applying.
Early autumn jobs
Continue picking summer vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplant, beans, capsicum, cucumbers and zucchini.
Get your spring-flowering bulb order in early to get the best choice and the best quality bulbs. While the end-of-season specials can be good value, the bulbs are often smaller, less well-developed and may only produce a single flower head.
Pruning fruit trees in late summer or early autumn is best done after most of the summer growth has abated, and the new growth has hardened a little. Sometimes you might get a little more growth after summer pruning, but usually only a small amount.
Whatever you are watering, do it in the morning or evening and water well and less often.
The next meeting for 2019 for the Armidale Garden Club will be March 28. New members are welcome to join in at the Uniting Church Youth Hall off Rusden St at 7.30pm.
Read more from Dar Brookes: