The winter solstice has now passed and lengthening days are the signal plants need to start growing. So, when the weeding, raking and pruning are finished, what should you do in your garden this winter? Take a look at our top Bay OK gardening tips for winter.
Treat your trees to some love. While winter storms can wreak havoc on our trees, they will recover in spring with new growth. A thick layer of coarse mulch and plantings of swordsedge and basketbush at the base of ornamental trees can protect feeder roots close to the surface. Hold off fertilising fruit trees until springtime when you can use a slow release fertiliser. If you apply fertiliser now, it is more likely to be washed away with the rain.
Apply coarse, chunky mulch. Top up the mulch layer on your garden beds to keep your plant roots and surrounding soil and microbes warmer in winter. The mulch will slowly decompose, feeding and adding valuable organic matter to your soil that will feed your plants all year round. A coarse, chunky mulch is best and should be 5-10cm deep.
Reduce your lawn and grow a nature verge instead. We all enjoy lawn, but not the maintenance, fertiliser and watering it demands. Your front verge is the perfect place to replace lawn with low-maintenance native gardens. Replacing lawn with native plants will provide habitat for wildlife and increase the biodiversity in your street. If you love the look of lawn, there are a variety of native groundcovers that can be used as an alternative without the maintenance and fertiliser requirements.
Improve your sandy soil to have a thriving garden. If you are gardening on sandy soil, you will know that it doesn’t retain moisture or nutrients very well. Winter is an excellent time to tackle this problem by adding organic matter and a clay product. To ensure your plants benefit from fertiliser application, apply a slow release fertiliser in spring time and follow the recommended application rate. Fertilisers leach through the soil when it rains and end up in our waterways, so don’t use it when rain is around or during winter months when plants aren’t growing and don’t need feeding.
Plant WA native species and enjoy birds visiting your garden. If you are creating a new garden bed or replacing plants, it makes sense to choose natives. They are particularly well suited to WA’s soil and climate and thrive on less water and nutrients compared to exotic species. They also attract local wildlife into your garden and provide valuable habitat. Choose the right plant for the right spot and you will discover that local native plants are easier to grow and maintain. For a list of native plants visit the GeoCatch website or visit your local nursery.
Redesign and zone your garden. Winter is a good time to retrofit and repair your irrigation, redesign some garden beds, and even take out lawns. Work on grouping plants that have similar water and fertiliser requirements. Planting in hydrozones based on high, moderate, and low water requirements allows you to match your irrigation system to suit specific water requirements.
The Bay OK garden project regularly holds garden workshops to promote garden actions that protect Geographe Bay and the waterways and tributaries that flow into it.