This week 18 Aug 2006

  • If you feel the need to use hormone spray on lawns (Tordon Gold and the like), this is your last chance to do so without causing damage to nearby deciduous shrubs and trees which will be in growth soon. Magnolias are particularly vulnerable to hormone spray damage when they are coming in to leaf (the result is deformed, curly foliage) so take special care if you have specimens nearby or planted in your lawn and avoid all hormone sprays around them in springtime. Hormone sprays are used to take out broadleafed weeds.
  • Hostas and most spring and summer clumping perennials can still be divided but time is running out fast for this activity. All spring and most summer bulbs will be in growth now and are best left undisturbed.
  • With this drier weather, weeds are germinating. Push hoeing and raking the garden now may save an explosion of weeds in a few weeks.
  • If you use green crops, remember to dig them in at least a month before you wish to plant a crop to give them a chance to start breaking down. Green crops such as lupin or oats are a time honoured way of returning fertility and texture to soil which is being cropped repeatedly, as in the vegetable garden.
  • Trim and tie down raspberry canes. Near and dear to the writer’s heart (or face) this advice, after a wayward cane launched an unprovoked attack a few days ago.
  • A wide range of fruit trees are currently available and should be planted as soon as possible before they start moving. Apples and plums are probably the most successful in the wider Taranaki climate. Add in feijoas, kiwifruit and citrus in mild coastal areas. Peaches and apricots prefer a drier climate and are mostly disappointing here unless you spray repeatedly.