Now is a great time for garden maintenance and planting

If there are areas in your garden that you are not happy with, then the months of June/July are regarded as a great time of the year to get in and make these changes. If you want to move a plant from A to B in the garden, then the plant will be happier if you can do it while it's cold, because its transpiration process slows down so it needs less moisture. Therefore, it won't be such a shock for it when half of its roots suddenly get chopped.

With deciduous trees, you can just dig them straight out of the ground and move them. But with a lot of evergreens, it is advisable to cut the roots on two sides of the plant with a spade, then leave the plant for two weeks and cut the roots on the other two sides. Then let the plant sit there, until it gets a few white roots coming from where you cut the roots and then you are pretty safe to lift out of the ground carefully and put it into its new position. Firm the soil around the plant and water it, just to give a bit of readily available moisture. In no time, it will happy and regrowing as though it was never moved.

July is also a good time to dig out the plants you don't want any more and do any pruning that needs to be done. With the warm weather we are currently experiencing, it's helping keep the soil temperatures up, which means the root systems of plants in your garden will be actively growing. So, if you are thinking about doing some new planting, then I fully recommend that you get into it now! You will find that any plants that you put in at this time of the year will have a better chance of coping with next summer, especially if it's particularly dry, because the roots will keep growing over the winter and so will become more established.

Also I went outside today and applied some weedkiller to any weeds that I could find around the garden. You will find that if you go into the spring months (August/September) with clean, weed free gardens, then you will have a whole lot less weeds appear later on in the season. The saying ‘one year's seeding is nine years weeding' is definitely a true statement when it comes to gardening. That's why I find some of my landscape clients find it really hard to keep their garden looking nice and weed free.

It is basically because they let the weeds seed before they pull them out and by then the next two or three generations of seed have been flung far and wide, so they never actually break the cycle and get on top of the problem. June/July is a great time to get all the garden maintenance done, create new gardens if you need to, and get any pruning done. Remember don't prune anything now, if it's going to be flowering in the spring because there's a good chance you will cut off all the flower buds.

Perennials - this is the time of the year to divide any perennials that have maybe got too big a clump for the garden they are in. Because our climate in the Waikato is so good for garden growth, I often find by the end of summer many peoples gardens are very over-grown, so its important to bring everything back to a manageable size, especially if next summer you want to have a garden where everything has its place and is not being crowded by the neighbouring plant.

Generally speaking, a lot of the perennials should be lifted out of the ground in June/July. Cut off any top foliage if there is any, divide the roots of the plant with a spade, and replant. With perennials, you will find that some will grow faster than others, so lifting and dividing is especially important for the more vigorous plants, ensuring that they don't take over and dominate the garden.

Happy gardening!

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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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