October is the ideal time for planting; shrubs and trees will put on maximum growth during spring and early summer.
- Prune your spring flowering plants after they have flowered. Using bottlebrush as an example: if dead flowers are retained, seed capsules will develop and the energy of the plant will go to seeds. Following this development, a shoot will form and from this shoot next year’s flower will develop. However, if the spent flower is removed immediately, three or more shoots will develop thus giving more flowers the following year. Some gardeners prefer to sacrifice flowers in order to give seed-eating birds a source of food in later months.
- Remove spent flowers from clivias and hippeastrums and fertilise. Potted plants may require fresh soil. Water a couple of hours before removing from the pot. This allows the plant to take up water to sustain it following root disturbance. Wash the pot and cut damaged roots. Remove dead or damaged leaves and check for pests. Slow release fertiliser pellets can be added to the fresh potting mix. Water thoroughly and leave the pot in a sheltered position for a few days.
- Remove spent flowers from annuals and fertilise fortnightly with a soluble product, such as Thrive or Aquasol. Aphids love fresh soft growth, remove daily. Chewed leaves indicate caterpillars or snails; the latter are easily identified due to the silver trail they leave.
- Apply compost and manure to garden beds. Apply mulch after watering.