As we edge closer to deep winter in Australia (and let’s be honest it arrives pretty quickly in Melbourne) your trees and garden will still benefit from some tending to, despite the slower pace that life will move in for the next few months.
There are plenty of reasons not to neglect your trees in winter. Apart from the feel-good factor of getting out to the garden, the attention you give your trees in winter will result in a reward of healthy and bountiful trees come spring.
We’ve put together three tips to keep up the maintenance of your trees in the cooler weather, yep just three. Doing just a few things will help ensure excellent spring growth in your trees.
Pruning deciduous trees in winter is best done when all the leaves have fallen, and you can get a good look at precisely what needs to go. We also recommend holding of f on pruning until the mid to end of winter before the new growth starts to avoid exposure to the elements and pathogenic fungi.
If you prune too early, your tree will not heal as swiftly as it should due to its dormant state and potential damage and disease.
Trees like Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia)Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), Liquid Ambers (Liquidambar styraciflua), Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) will all benefit from a winter prune. As will many Fruit trees.
However, as we mentioned before, it’s important to take care not to prune too early and to be mindful of what you remove. The benefit of a bare tree is being able to remove and of the dead or diseased branches as well as thinning and overcrowding and rubbing branches. And, you don’t want to remove too much!
Do some research on the kind of tree you’re pruning to better understand what to look for in fruiting wood, so you don’t lose it and destroy the spring flourish.
Finally on this point, If your trees aren’t safe for you to prune, call an arborist to give you the best information about how much you need to remove from the tree and when.
2. COMPOST YOUR LEAVES:
This tip is not exactly about caring for the trees directly but more about utilising all the parts of your glorious tree to help care for itself and the rest of your garden (and you!).
Collect all of the fallen leaves* and add them to your compost heap.
*Only after you, the kids and the dog have delightfully kicked, scrunched and played around in the crunchy piles of joy.
If you have a compost heap going, these leaves will add carbon and nitrogen to the microorganisms in the compost and turn into a protein so delightful and nourishing for your garden you’ll be so glad you did.
If you don’t already have a compost heap, we found this article to be useful in explaining the process of making compost and how it works.
3. FEED, WATER AND PROTECT
Ok so we may not be talking about feeding and watering the enormous, tough as boots, stringybark in your backyard here but newly planted trees, fruit trees and those we’ve mentioned above will still need a little TLC.
Watering in winter might seem a little redundant but winter drought is a thing. Melbourne winters are cold but not always wet, in fact on average June is the driest month of the year. So while you might need less water than the warmer months don’t forget to check in on your trees and give them a little hydration if they need it.
A good covering of mulch on a tree (and all your garden beds) just before winter hits will help to keep the soil warm and protect it from frost. If you are planting new trees or replanting in the winter be sure to add some well-rotted compost and fertiliser as winter comes to an end to aid the new spring growth.
So, winter is a time the earth becomes more dormant and slows down for all of us, even our plants. But we all need sustenance and warmth to keep us going. Remember that a little time in the crisp winter air to tend to your garden even means you and the plants will reap the benefits.
Stay warm folks!
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For more information on Tree Amigos Victoria and the services we provide in and around Melbourne please visit our website at www.treeamigosvictoria.com.au