Making the most of your garden

Gardening. (Supplied, STIHL)

With the warmer weather here and people spending more time outdoors it’s the perfect time to work on your garden.

Laverton STIHL Dealer Colin Kennedy from Alltools Brooklyn says it’s the perfect time to enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer and look after your garden.

“It is important to use the correct tools when working in the garden,” he said.

“Not only is it safer, but gardening will be easier for you and your garden will be better off. Your local STIHL dealer will be able to advise you on the best tools for your garden and what is popular in your local neighbourhood.”

Here’s his top advice for the looking after your garden.

-Achieve Lawn and Order

Lawns love warm and wet conditions. Feeding is very important and professional turf growers, and greenkeepers looking after bowling greens, golf courses and parks all make sure they have their fertilising regimes down pat. Using slow release technology to avoid growth spurts and excessive growth, encourages strong steady growth. Remember; a strong and lush green lawn outcompetes weeds.

The real trick with lawns in the summer months is mowing. If you’re busy making the most of your garden during the warmer months, the best advice I can give you is to check out STIHL’s new range of robotic mowers. Not only will it allow you to achieve that picture perfect lawn finish, it will do so without taking up time you’d rather be spending in the garden working on other projects.

You want to let your lawn grow a bit longer as this will reduce drying out and slow down excessive water consumption on the hottest days. Raise your mower to the second highest setting and let it thicken up over the height of summer before reducing it in autumn to mid-level setting depending on the grass species you have.

-Be Water Wise

In the south, the most important activity you have to do weekly is check your irrigation system. Broken sprinklers, leaky pipes etc. are a serious risk and you cannot afford to ever let your plants or lawn dry out.

-Mulch to retain moisture

Mulching greatly assists with retaining moisture levels in your soil, particularly during Summer when rainfall becomes sparse. Shredding garden waste with a STIHL garden shredder will help the process of creating mulch and compost and will take you half the time.

That material is vitally important for increasing soil carbon which in turn increases microbial life and generally fertility of soil. It’s also important to remember all the energy produced by the plant to grow the material you are pruning, all the minerals derived from the soil from the nutrients you provide in fertiliser, and all the carbon taken from the atmosphere is in that green material.

-Care for your trees

Ensure you have a reasonable canopy over the outside boundaries of your garden. This will act as a cooling point, baffling airflow from strong winds, increasing humidity in the garden and shading the ground below leaving you feeling more comfortable when outdoors. The shade also reduces moisture stress in the garden which means better water retention and larger lush healthier foliage underneath the shade canopy.

You definitely need to trim your flowering plants regularly, particularly roses that will flush growth after every prune and subsequently produce spectacular flowering results. The only major exception to this rule is summer fruit, things like apricots, peaches, nectarines and pome fruit such as apples, nashis, quince and European pears which benefit from a structural prune after they have finished fruiting. This was once something only done in the winter but modern practices see orchardists prune to shape in summer and lightly prune to enhance fruit set in winter.

Hedges are at their best in summer and this is when you let them grow a little thicker as the extra foliage builds up the inner strength of the hedge. You don’t want to lose control, but definitely let the hedge flush new growth and get a bit fuller.

Remember to pop all your green waste from the garden through a shredder or mulcher and throw it across your garden beds.

-Indoor and Potted plant care

These plants are all growing well in summer. Whilst rainfall may influence performance outdoors, indoors plants are positively impacted by available light, and summer delivers a high number of bright sunny days. Increased sunlight combined with warm conditions will increase the amount of water your plants require which also creates the perfect conditions for fertiliser.

Whilst I use wetting agents to get water penetration into the soil evenly in pots, I stimulate growth by using a controlled release plant food like osmocote for indoors, and liquid plant food like osmocote pour and feed, a clever liquid plant food that is applied at recommended rates fortnightly which will see your indoor plants grow strongly and likely double in size over the summer months.