This week 23 February 2007

  • Spray lawns for flat weeds if you have not yet done so. If you object to the use of sprays, you can do it on your hands and knees with a sharp knife. Now is also the time to prepare areas which are to be sown in lawn when the autumn rains come. Getting it weed free before the grass seed goes down can save a lot of trouble later. Never feed your lawn in dry weather. The grass is more likely to be burned off by the fertiliser than to green up.
  • If you keep your garden and lawn looking fresh by irrigation, it may be timely to consider ways to change your gardening practices to avoid the need for extensive watering. It is possible to keep a garden well without having to water it and good gardening should work with nature, not against it. Water is often a scarce resource (especially in South Taranaki) and it should not be used to prop up unsustainable gardening practices which can’t manage three or four weeks without rain. The installation of the home irrigation system is a bit of a fad and creates a situation where the plants can’t handle dry because their roots remain close to the surface. That said, plants in containers dry out quickly and get stressed in a way plants in the ground don’t, so they do need watering daily.
  • It is too dry to do much in the garden so it is a catch up time with maintenance and summer pruning along with deadheading to encourage flowering to continue. Stressed plants will bolt into seed even faster than usual so deadheading is even more important.
  • If you infestations of pesky wandering jew, Amitrol or Grazon are the effective sprays to deal to it but it may need several applications to get rid of a patch. There is no point in pulling it by hand unless you are willing to keep on top of it and keep returning again and again to pull out each regenerating piece. Wandering jew is not an acceptable ground cover in woodland areas, although it likes to think it would be.
  • Keep grapes trimmed and watch for mealie bug.
  • It is close to the last chance to plant dwarf beans.