August is the perfect time to be doing some of those jobs in the garden that have been neglected during the winter months. Tidying, planting, soil preparation and pruning are all important tasks that will give your garden new life and help it flourish during spring.
A great place to start is a general tidy up of the garden. Remove young spring weeds as they will be easiest to pull up now while the ground is soft and the roots are shallow. Adding mulch to bare spots can help suppress any new weeds that may appear. Remember, when mulching around the base of trees, leave a few centimetres clear of the trunks to reduce the chance of rot on the stems occurring.
Similarly, clearing drains and areas where leaves have gathered in large amounts is a great way to tidy the garden and ensure spring rains have somewhere to runoff. Put the cleared material into the compost to start re-invigorating the compost after winter. Repair any damaged planter boxes or edgings and check trellises and fences. Repairing these in winter is easier as there is less new growth to work around or disturb.
Time for a prune
Prune unwanted or dead branches off trees and shrubs once the new growth has begun. This will not only tidy up the plants but will also open them up allowing more air through the branches and helping to reduce diseases or pests developing. Now is the perfect time to prune roses as well, just before they bud. Again, clear any dead or obstructive branches and open up the inside. Your fruit trees will also enjoy a tidy up at this time of year before buds fully develop and bloom.
Your Proteas will also benefit from a prune at this time of year. Thin and shape the plants so they don’t become too cluttered and look tidy. Remove stems growing downwards, weak stems and any cluttered sections. Prune back Leucadendrons after they have finished flowering and remove dead flower heads from Proteas. Remember to avoid cutting back strong stems on Proteas which have not flowered – they will be next years’ flowers. Refer to our ‘Pruning Proteas’ guide for more information.
Planting for success
Plant early spring vegetables but remember to protect seedlings from hard frosts. Use items from around the house like an overturned bucket or a large flower pot. Plant several vegetable varieties which mature at different times to have a prolonged harvest. Now is also a great time to plant out any spring bulbs. Soil conditions are also good for transplanting some existing shrubs because the soil is more often moist which aids the roots in expanding out from the planting site more easily and in finding nutrients.
Prepare for the season
Remember to use the last cool and wet months of winter to really tidy and prepare your garden so you receive the best crop or yield you’ve had.
Read our ‘Spring Planting Guide’ to ensure your garden flourishes this spring.