We are moving well into Autumn as the trees change colour and there is morning dew on the ground. This reminds us that we need to get on with preparing the garden for Winter!

The grass is growing faster and will respond to fertilisers applied now that will keep the grass healthy. Look out for any signs of fungus, moss and grass grub then treat as required to give control.

Pip fruit can continue to be harvested, keep only the very best fruit for storage over the Winter.

Once the trees have been harvested a clean up spray to help stop any carry over of pests and diseases, especially on stone fruit is recommended.

As Summer crops finish remove all the old plant material and compost if possible. Any material that is badly diseased should be disposed of in the rubbish bin.

Winter vegetables need to be kept growing so keep them free of weeds; if they are looking a bit slow then a side dressing of fertiliser may be required.

April is a good time to plant Spring bulbs into containers, and in the garden. Remember to use good quality potting mix and plant into well prepared ground. Only plant healthy firm bulbs that show no signs of damage.

Autumn flowering perennials will finish flowering towards the end of the month. They will need to be cut back by about a third before they die down completely. This includes Dahlias, Chrysanthemums and Asters.

Winter flowering annuals need to be planted as soon as possible so that they are well established before Winter.

The greenhouse needs to have a good clean out and be treated for hard to control pests like white fly, thrips and mites to ensure they are not over wintered in the greenhouse to infect plants in the Spring.

It will soon be time to think about pruning, I suggest that you check over all the tools needed, clean and sharpen them so that they will be ready to perform good clean cuts that heal over quickly.

Before the weather becomes too wet and cold clean out the house spouting, treat the paths for moss and check any drains for blockages so that you well ready for Winter.

Good gardening, Michael Coulter

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk or you can email Michael directly at: coultchrys@xtra.co.nz

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