What to look at in Spring

SPRING is in the air!  WHOO HOO!!!

Hello Spring image

The growing season is a busy time of year for your trees as they grow new shoots/leaves to gather energy during the summer months and flowers for pollination.

Spring is a brilliant time for getting outside and having a good look around at how your garden has fared over these wet, windy winter months.
Trees can be dangerous if left to their own devices so knowing what is going on is really important for health & safety reasons.

Spring is also a great time to care for your garden and trees so read on for some of our tips & hints!

Image of In bloom Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) in Spring
In bloom Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata)

Complete an inspection

On a lovely warm day head out into the garden, taking a notepad with you to check what has happened whilst you’ve been inside staying warm. Check for any damage, decay or noticeable changes.

  • Are there any obvious signs of broken branches that need to be cut away?
  • How much deadwood is in the canopy and do you think this could cause a hazard?  Some deadwood is OK and good for the trees structure but if there is more than previous years, it would pay to contact a professional knowledgeable Arborist to take a look and offer advice.
  • Can you see any dead or dying branches that you are concerned about?
  • Have you noticed a reduction in flowers, buds or leaves?  This could indicate problems with the tree that may need further investigation.
  • Are there any rubbing or crossing branches?
  • Are there any tight or included unions (this is where two or more main leaders/branches are growing right next to each other? There is risk that they will push each other apart as they grow).
  • Can you see any future conflict arising that needs action (e.g. power lines, buildings, footpaths/roads, etc.)?
  • Have you planned your fruit tree pruning activities?

Deal with any hardscaping issues first up

Use this time to repair any damaged walls, paths, gutters, fences, seats, decks, sheds, window boxes and any raised garden beds. Don’t forget to deal with any slippery pathways – health & safety should always be top of mind.
Early spring is a good time to plan and build new raised garden beds and extend and maintain existing ones. Do they need painting, staining or sealing?

Maintain good garden bed hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene in your garden beds will help to keep pests and diseases at bay.
Do a thorough cleanup and remove the debris out of your gardens:

  • branches, leaves, last year’s perennial foliage, ornamental grasses and perennial hibiscus, and any annuals you didn’t remove last Autumn
  • clean out debris from your pond or water feature
  • clean and sterilise your birdbath and containers before getting them back out into the garden. Using a solution of 1 part bleach/5 parts water should take care of any lingering diseases or insect eggs in your containers

Test & feed your soil

Experts recommend testing your garden soil every 3-5 years. This is to see what nutrients or organic materials it needs. If for example, you find out that your soil is very high in phosphorous, you would avoid adding fertilizers that contain a lot of it – less is best. If you discover that your soil is naturally alkaline, you should add aluminum sulphate around your evergreens and acid-loving shrubs like hydrangeas.
Click here for soil testing info from Ravensdown.

Once test results have been received, chat to your local garden centre about which products you should use. Ask them any questions you may have regarding application techniques for the best result.
Just before or as your spring bulbs are starting to show, add an inch or two of compost, manure and/or humus.

Irrigation anyone?

Do your gardens need watering over the coming months? Of course they do!

How are you planning on doing this and dealing with it during your water restriction period?

Having an irrigation system or plan is a great idea in the ever increasing temperatures. There are multiple options available depending on your garden set up and your budget. The system you choose will depend on a few things – your budget, your goal, the size of your garden, etc.

As the year moves on, the heat will increase and some of your trees may suffer during the summer months.

Irrigation system example
Irrigation system example

Moisture levels can be crucial to the healthy development of trees and Spring is the best time to review your garden and look at options of aiding these levels.

Of course there are many irrigation systems available that you can purchase but these come at a cost.  How much of a cost will depend on the size of your garden and what you desire from a system.  Do you want an automatic irrigation system that is on a timer so you can set and forget? Soaker hoses or pop up sprinklers? Or a simple set up of hose connections all around your garden so you can access all areas, spending time watering and relaxing from your day?  There are even options to re-use your greywater which is great for your garden and the environment.
Have you thought about setting up a rainwater catchment system?  We have a couple of blue plastic drums hooked up to the guttering system on one of our sheds and it’s been full many times.  Go for an IBC tank instead but make sure you know what’s been in it and wash it out thoroughly.

Add image of our blue tank set up

The other option is mulch

Using a well-aged tree mulch in your garden and around your trees is a great way to conserve moisture, especially in summer.  It can protect surface roots and reduce evaporation.  It also helps maintain an even soil temperature which trees LOVE and a bonus – it discourages many weeds from growing.  WIN-WIN!!

Check out our blog on How to mulch your trees the right way for advice and as always, if you have a question, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Correctly placed mulch – keep it away from the trunk

Turn that vege garden over and feed your fruiting trees with plenty of quality compost

Your plants and trees feed you, so why not feed them??? We recommend feeding your fruiting trees and vege patches 4 times per year.

Whether you buy it or make your own, quality compost can really be the make or break of a decent haul of fruit and veges.

Preparing your vegetable garden for planting is a must-do and should be an ongoing process of feeding the soil and thus the plants you will eat.

Plant seasonal vegetables

With the cost of living sky-rocketing, inflation increasing and the huge jump in prices of fresh fruit & vegetables, there is no better time than RIGHT NOW to start a garden or orchard. Growing your own food to eat is really satisfying and hugely beneficial not only to yourselves, but also to our planet.

Starting from seed is easier than you think and you only need to spend a small amount to get you started. A bag of seed-raising mix from Bunnings, Mitre10 or your local nursery, seeds (we purchase ours from Kings but there are quite a few options such as Egmont Seeds and the Seed Warehouse), and some plastic containers should start you off nicely. Why not ask the manager of your local Mitre10 if you are allowed to reuse the returned seedling trays that they collect? Or put a post on your local Facebook page asking if anyone has any spare they want to share? A great way to get to know your community and reduce plastic at the same time.

Check out this video from Mitre10

Treat your trees

Fertilising your trees correctly helps them to maintain their health and gives them the ability to do all of the amazing things that trees do.  As the oldest and biggest plant species on our planet, they:

  • give us oxygen
  • store carbon
  • stabilise soil
  • give life to wildlife
  • provide us and animals with shade

Pretty impressive huh? The list can go on and on!

Don’t forget trees in pots, fruit trees, specimen trees and restricted trees.

Clear any weeds and competing grass

Feed appropriately with the correct fertilizer using the correct dose

Add aged tree mulch (read our ‘How to mulch your trees the right way’ blog).

We recommend using an organic fertiliser which provides nutrients and improves the structure of your soil.  This will improve the habitat for microbes within the soil and help with moisture control.

Fertilising trees is a whole other subject so check out this awesome explanation of what, when and why.

Treat your trees in pots with appropriate potting mix and mulch, increasing the pot size if they start to look root-bound.

What about the birds?

Have you got a bird feeding station yet?? If not, you should seriously look at getting one. Bringing the birds into your garden can be beneficial as they love to scrounge and eat the bugs and pests for you! Having birds in your garden is such a lovely past time to enjoy.

We invested in one singular wild bird feeding station and the amount of birds that used it once they learnt where it was located was incredible! We bought this one and then Nick attached it to a board so more birds could use it at the same time.

Tip – it’s best to locate in the middle of the garden area so you don’t end up with a whole lot of bird poop on your newly painted black fence!

Check your pest control devices and top them up if required

An important function in any garden. The obvious ones like wild cats, rats, mice, possums and other rodents can all wreak havoc in your gardens let alone Codling Moth infestations. Check your traps regularly and keep up with the top up of ingredients/baits during the season to try and assist your self as well as your neighbours in keeping the goodies you grow for yourselves.

Giving a good haircut

Spring is a good time to book a professional, knowledgeable Arborist if you require pruning work on your trees during the upcoming summer months.

Good, professional Arborists are busy at all times of the year but more so close to Christmas as people are getting ready for their guests to arrive. Christmas also means school holidays so those involved with maintenance for school sites when the kids are on holiday may already be booked!

Get in early and schedule a site visit with us so we can provide you with an obligation-free quote.

With all that being said, enjoy the upcoming sunshine, the soil and the surroundings of your own little piece of paradise!

Image of Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) in full Spring bloom
Flowering Cherry (Prunus serrulata) in full bloom