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July Garden Notes - Beat The Cold

July24 Garden Newsletter D

Welcome to our notes for July, it’s hard to believe that we’re hallway through the year already!

Sadly, mostly because I’m getting older and feel it more, the cold is with us too! The last couple of weeks have been bitingly cold, not great for gardening, that’s for sure.

Combat Cold, Weeds, and Keep Your Plants Healthy

Growth of everything has pretty much stopped now as the ground gets even colder, except for weeds, of course. If there were a meter of snow on the ground, I think they’d still push through at my house. Do try to keep on top of them; it’s much easier to control them while they’re small.

One of the things you can do to help gardens cope in winter is to regularly apply a seaweed-based product as a foliar spray. These products not only help plants in hot weather but also protect against stress produced by very cold conditions. Don’t forget to treat indoor plants as well. We also stock a product called Droughtshield, which has the same properties as the seaweed formulas, helping your plants cope with temperature extremes.

I know I promote the use of mulch for weed control almost every month, but now, particularly for citrus, it can be beneficial to scrape back the mulch. This will allow any sunshine we do get to hit the soil and provide a bit more warmth for the root zone. Speaking of citrus, don’t forget to still give them a feed this month, preferably using a liquid fertiliser, which won’t need to be broken down by microbes in the soil that are not active in our cold winter soils.

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Pruning Tips for Deciduous Trees and Roses

July is a great month to tackle the pruning of deciduous trees and roses. Rose pruning is quite simple, and roses are very forgiving, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. If you aren’t sure how much to prune, you can apply what I call the 50/50 rule. For bush roses, this means removing half the stems and reducing the remainder by half—not hard at all. As with all pruning, clean and sharp tools will make the job much simpler and produce a better result. You will need a good pair of secateurs for the majority of the pruning, plus loppers and/or a pruning saw for thicker stems. Thick leather gloves are also helpful to prevent being attacked by thorns!

A spray with Lime Sulphur after you’ve finished pruning will help to control any pests and diseases that overwinter in the bark. Rake up fallen leaves as well, as this will help with disease control. If you’re unsure about any pruning techniques, just ask one of our nursery staff for some advice and tips.

Despite the cold, there is still a fair bit of color in gardens through winter. As I mentioned last month, this is “prime time” for camellias. Also coming into their own at the moment are the family of plants called Hellebore, commonly known as the winter rose. These small-growing shrubs, about 50 cm tall, flower abundantly from winter into spring with flowers ranging from white to various shades of pink. Best grown in a spot that is shaded in summer, these are a great addition to any garden that perhaps has a “difficult” shaded position to fill.

Some deciduous trees haven’t lost all their leaves yet, ornamental pears in particular, so you still have an opportunity to get a compost heap going. Don’t forget that you can add prunings to your compost if you cut them down into smaller pieces. Some people chop them up using their lawn mower, which works quite well. Be a little careful of rose prunings, though, as the thorns can be a problem later on if they don’t break down.

Final Notes

These cold days are also a great time to put some thought into what you want to do in your garden in the coming spring/summer seasons. Make yourself a nice hot cuppa, grab a pen and paper, and make some notes about things you’d like to plant or changes you can make when it warms up enough to get out there. Keep in mind, if you start down this track, you can always ask any questions of our qualified garden team.

So in finishing, yes, it’s very cold and quite wet, but spring is not far away, so perhaps enjoy a little bit of downtime before it gets hectic again.


Ask one of our knowledgeable garden staff members for advice if you have any questions regarding anything having to do with your garden, indoors or out. We would be pleased to lead you on the correct path. Call us on 1300 165 165 or visit your local store.