What to do in the garden before winter

With Anzac Day on April 25, it's a good time to get stuck into your garden to prepare it for the colder months ahead. Here are some tasks you might enjoy doing in your garden this April: 


- Farewell your summer flowers
Your summer flowers are probably coming to an end now. Remove spent plants, chop back bulbs that have finished flowering, and cut back any greenery that's looking less than healthy. 

- Eat your fruit crops
If your peaches and nectarines have finished fruiting, you can prune the trees. Remove old wood but keep enough new season's growth to ensure you have fruit next year - there's some good pruning videos on YouTube that will help you with this.  
Apples, pears, passionfruit and some varieties of feijoas will be ripening now - make sure you pick the fruit regularly to beat the birds or cover with netting if they're too fast! 

- Plant now for winter and spring flowers
It seems early but planting your spring bulbs now means they get to enjoy warmer soil and nutrients so they can put on a show in spring. Pop in daffodils, tulips, freesias and hyacinths, making sure you plant them at roughly twice the height of the bulb in well-drained soil.
If you want to have flowers to enjoy this winter, plant them now - either directly in the garden or in pots. Pretty winter-flowering plants include alyssum, calendula, cineraria, cornflower, lobelia, nemesia, pansy, primula, snapdragon and stock.

- Create a lush lawn
Now that the heat of summer days is over, it's a good time to makeover your lawn - either improving what you have or starting afresh. If you can, consider drainage so you can avoid a boggy lawn and enjoy it year-round. Do a weed and feed and sow grass seed in any sparse spots. Don't mow for a few weeks, to allow it to get a head start with growth.

- Make use of your leaves
The hallmark of autumn - gorgeous colour leaves - will be clear soon, bringing with it piles of leaves on the ground! Use a rake or leaf blower to pile these up and then add them to your compost bin or make a pile down the back of your property. Add the summer flower plants you've just pulled out, lawn clippings, plus any kitchen scraps and you're on your way to creating a nutrient-rich mulch you can use on your garden later.   

- Add a layer of mulch
Using mulch on your gardens is little like tucking a warm blanket over your garden as it prepares to sleep/hibernate for winter. Put down mulch to conserve moisture in the ground, keep the soil warm, and minimise weeds. Doing this step will mean less stress for your plants and hopefully better health and more flowers this winter, spring and summer! 

- Trailer tips
We advise you to hire your HireAce trailer and get to the plant store first thing in the morning, when it's still cool. Plants do best when planted early or late in the day, when their roots aren't exposed to hot temperatures and hot soil. Take the opportunity to grab a few bags of good soil, to give your plants the best chance of success. 
When weeding and pruning your summer flowers, either have a wheelbarrow or tarpaulin on hand so you can just toss them in without the need for double-handling. Drag the tarp to the HireAce trailer and get someone to help you lift and dump. 

Make sure you pack gloves and a rake and/or broom when you head off to the dump. This means you can clean off every last bit of plant waste from the trailer while you're at the dump.

HireAce has a variety of great trailers - check your local branch or Z station and pre-book to ensure you get the one you want this Easter or Anzac Day!     

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