In collaboration with Yarra Valley Water we bring you tips for your spring garden – Want to get out in the spring sunshine? Now’s the time to plant…

We hope everyone is safe and healthy and trying their best to take in the gift of mother nature as we have with our partners Yarra Valley Water. With the hint of Spring in the air and sunshine giving some very welcome life in the garden, now is time to consider some healthy tips to get your natural landscape ready for Spring.

Spring is the ideal time for Planting

Spring conditions are ripe for plants to put on plenty of growth so any planting you have planned should be done in September/October. This allows the plants to establish in the soil and put on some growth before the harsh and dry heat of summer.

The soil is generally holding an increased amount of moisture compared to Summer and Autumn and it’s starting to warm up.

Ensure you thoroughly water the plants as they are planted. Soaking the hole as you put the plant in the ground will help the entire rootball soak through and ensure the surrounding soil is saturated.

Ensuring the rootball and surrounding soil is completely saturated at the time of planting reduces transplant stress and gives the plant the best possible start in its new home.

Steps to prepare your garden for Spring

Step 1: Soak the root ball at the time of planting. This can be done by either dunking the root ball in a bucket of water or by filling the hole with water and drenching as you plant.

Step 2: Create a well for larger plants especially trees. To do this you should have some excess soil handy when planting. With the excess soil make a compacted ridge of soil that follows the perimeter of the root ball. Make sure the ridge is roughly 10-15cm high; you can use tree rings to create this ridge for you.

Step 3: Drench the root ball ensuring all the water is going straight onto the rootball inside the well you have created. We like to try and fill the well with water so we know the root ball is fully soaked through.

Step 4: Mulch to the base of the plant, making sure no mulch is up against the stem or trunk of the plant. Soak the mulch through.

Step 5: Allow the soil to dry out only a little before watering again. Generally leaving your new plants for two days between watering will have allowed them to take up a fair amount of water. Top up again making sure any plants with wells are only watered directly inside the well and smaller plants should be watered directly at the base of the plant or through the foliage to ensure the root ball is receiving the majority of water. Any water not going to the root ball during this early stage is simply wasted. It’s very important to make sure the root ball is completely soaked through each time you water. This is especially important for trees as they will go into severe stress if they dry out in the establishment period and will likely never fully recover. A trick we use is to count to 10 for small plants before moving to the next plant or 20 for trees and larger plants. Keep in mind you should be aiming for 155 litres of water per day per household and this includes showers etc. We like to use the soaker setting, on my hose gun to ensure the majority of water is going to the root ball. If your gun or nozzle doesn’t have a soaker setting adjust it to a setting with medium to large water droplets and ensure the pressure allows for the water to sink in not run off.

Step 6: Slowly wean the plant off consistent watering by increasing the intervals between watering. Don’t give the plant less water during each watering as this will cause the plant to dry out and stress. Even for established plants it’s best to soak the roots each time you water. Start the weaning process once you notice new growth. New growth means new roots and therefore the plant is establishing. Once a fresh layer of foliage has fully developed you can wind back the watering considerably to intermittent intervals depending on the weather.

How are you saving water?

Remember Spring is a great time for rainfall in many parts of the country, especially Victoria. Check the weather forecast and if it looks like rain, let Mother Nature do the job.

You can also check if the garden needs watering by observing your plants and testing moisture levels by sticking your fingers into the soil or using a moisture meter.

When watering establishing plants or a well earned water, do it as efficiently as you can. Water plants at the roots, not the foliage where water can be lost to evaporation.

What else can I do to keep my landscape healthy?

Trim/prune shrubs in late Spring after the first flush of Spring growth has fully developed. Trimming and pruning shrubs at this stage will help them to put on even more growth in late Spring early Summer and again in late Summer early Autumn.

Make sure you don’t trim or prune any plants that are due to flower during this period as you could interrupt the reproductive cycle. For these particular plants wait until the flowering has finished and then trim or prune to help with vegetative growth.

Dead head spent flowers. As soon as flowers start to wilt and their colour starts to fade it’s worth removing the flower. This can prolong the flowering period.

The correct watering regime in conjunction with planting and pruning undertaken at the right time will help you realise the full benefits of your Spring garden with one eye firmly on reducing your impact on the environment.

Transplanting can also be done with relative safety in early Spring. Before digging the plant ensure the new hole has been prepared and saturated. Move the plant straight into its new home without delay and saturate the root ball. If you can fill the new hole with water and sit the plant in the water it’s ideal.

Correct and consistent watering of new plants or transplanted plants when planting and during the establishment period will mean less watering needs to be done down the track. It will also vastly improve the success of your new plants. Please note that different species require different amounts of water and their position in the garden will affect how much water they need e.g. a sunny position will need more frequent watering as the soil will dry out quicker.

What do you think about plants?
Well here’s some that are flowering in Spring (pictured right)…

Images from top to bottom: Conospermum stoechadis, Anigozanthos flavidus, Grevillea coconut ice.

If you would like further help with your garden feel free to book in a complimentary 30 minute consultation with a member of our horticulture team, by clicking here. This is the golden opportunity for us to talk to you about your garden, provide any advice, maintenance tips and information to prepare your garden leading into Spring, act natural…

Images by Amelia Stanwix, Jessica Grilli & Eden Hoang.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work and live, and we pay respect to elders past, present and emerging.