May is a good time of the year in which to move plants that may have been planted in a position that has not been ideal for growth, or plants that need to be moved because of garden redesign or building projects.
Plants that are moved now will benefit from the soil that is still warm enough to encourage the growth of new root structures, before the colder weather of winter becomes established. Shrubs such as azaleas and gardenias are ideal for this treatment, while smaller conifers may also be transplanted now.
Prior to removal of the plant from its original position, a trench should be cut around the plant in order to sever the main root system. Roots should be cut through cleanly. Removal of some the plant's outer branches will assist the plant to compensate for the severing of its room system.
Spraying the plant's foliage with Stressguard will reduce water loss as this chemical has anti-transpirant properties.
The new area selected for the plant should be dug out to a volume of about twice the width and depth of the plant. Once the plant has been placed into its new position, a good quality soil mix should be placed around the root system, and the soil should then be watered in well to assist in the removal of pockets of air.
Soil wetting products, such as crystals, should then be watered over the soil.
Autumn is the time of the year when gardeners can enjoy the beautiful colours that deciduous trees produce.
Whether the tree is a Chinese Tallow Wood, a liquidambar, a member of the ash family or one of the many other varieties that may be growing in the garden or park, the colourful display will be followed by a carpet of dead leaves.
For many gardeners it is very tempting to rake up these leaves and then dispose of them with the weekly garbage. However, this yearly supply of leaves can be used in quite purposeful and useful ways in the garden, depending on the preference of the individual gardener.
If a smaller amount of dead leaves is available, then they can be simply spread over the surface of garden beds, forming an instant layer of organic mulch. This will retain moisture in the soil, suppress the formation of weeds and, eventually, when the leaves decompose, provide a rich source of nutrients for the garden soil.
However, with a little effort, the leaves can be used to create rich compost that can be added to any area of the garden, providing a long lasting beneficial effect.
In order to achieve compost, a container that will hold the leaves will need to be constructed. A temporary square or rectangular shape, made by stretching wire netting between posts is sufficient, although the netting can restrict access to the pile when turning of the material is desired.
A more robust construction might have sides made from boards or flat pieces of timber or other materials. A base is not required as it is preferable to have the leaves in contact with the soil, allowing worms and other organisms to access the plant material.
If the leaves that are being added to the container are large and thick, it would be preferable to speed up the decomposition process by either mowing over them, or putting them through a shredder. Layers of leaves can then be placed into the structure, alternating the layers of leaves with layers of manures such as chicken, horse or fowl manure. A sprinkling of Dynamic Lifter or blood and bone to each layer will help to ensure a rich compost results.
Sufficient water should be added to the heap to make it damp, but not too wet. The top surface of the heap can then be covered with plastic or some other material such as pieces of old carpet.
The whole heap should then be stirred with a fork every couple of weeks, ensuring that the different layers become inter-mixed. Keep the material damp. Worms and other creatures should be present in the mixture as it goes through its decomposition process.
However, fat white curl-grubs should be removed and left out in the open for the birds. The following spring, rich, crumbly, sweet-smelling compost will result. This will be ideal for including in new garden beds or adding to straw, lucerne hay, sugar cane mulch or other materials placed over the surface of the garden beds.
Double-grafted citrus trees, where two different varieties are growing on the one tree, are now available.
These include combinations such as: "Washington Navel" orange and "Meyer" lemon; "Washington Navel" orange and "Tahiti" lime; and "Meyer" lemon and "Tahiti" lime. Double-grafted citrus trees are ideal for many gardens as they require much less space. Selecting one of the increasing numbers of dwarf varieties also saves on space, while still being able to enjoy the freshly-picked fruits.