October 5, 2007 Weekly Garden Guide

  • Weeds are growing madly. Be vigilant at this time of the year and prevent anything going to seed or you will be fighting the successive waves of germinating weeds all summer. While glyphosate or Round Up will kill weeds, this takes a few days to work so you still need to hand pull any weeds with seed heads formed – particularly the bitter cress which pops everywhere and goes from germination to seeding in what seems like days.
  • Rejuvenate tired citrus trees at this time by pruning hard, fertilising and mulching. If you prune very hard, you will sacrifice the crop of fruit for the next season or two but you should have a better looking bush or tree. Citrus trees are grafted so do not cut off at ground level because all that will regrow will be the thorny root stock. If you have a problem with borer, cut out the infected branches.
  • Evergreen azaleas and most camellias, however, can be cut to ground level if you have ugly old specimens and they will grow again though you are unlikely to get flowers next year. Make sure you feed and mulch any plants you have subjected to extreme decapitation.
  • If you want a summer bedding plant display, you should be getting your annuals in now. If you have bought “potted colour” (the larger specimens which are sold in garden centres), removing the current crop of flower buds at time of planting allows the plant to establish better before it puts its energies into a floral display. Deadheading them throughout the season can be tedious but will considerably extend the flowering. The plant’s drive is to set seed and reproduce itself so if you delay that process by preventing it seeding, it will keep on trying by setting more flowers.
  • In the vegetable garden, don’t rush planting out if your soil is still cold. It can in fact delay the growth of the seeds and plants whereas if you wait until later in the month, they are more likely to grow away unimpeded. Experienced vegie gardeners learn to judge the optimum times and conditions for getting early crops in but Labour Weekend is traditionally the magic planting time.