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The Lowdown on Lush Lawns

We all get by with a little help from our friends –So Outside & In has grabbed the guru of gardening, Julian Bartels, to share his expertise on maintaining our exteriors through the Autumn season. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner wanting some basics… We’ve got you covered! 

The temp will soon start to drop, the days will gradually become shorter, and our lawn will soon be covered by golden yellows and rich orange hues. Oh yes… Autumn has arrived, and –truth be told- this is the perfect time to prepare your garden for the cold weather that lies ahead.  All the ‘prep work’ that is done in autumn will ensure that your green haven remains in top condition through Winter, and geared for a vibrant Spring.   

One of the best ways to prepare your autumn garden is to clear the space of any leaves or tree branches that may have built up over the spring and summer periods.  The autumn season also proves to be the best time of year for clearing out the main base of the garden, allowing you to give some much-needed attention to flowers and shrubs in the winter.  

Tidying up and cutting back your plant borders are a great means of having your garden looking fresh and in top shape for the colder seasons.  It’s the best time to clear out any foliage that should not be there, and ensure that your soil has all the nutrients it requires to ensure that your plant babies are happy and healthy.  

If there are any plants which you feel are poorly-placed in your garden, Autumn is just the right time to replant them.  If any perennials have faded, cut them back to around 5cm to ensure that they remain in the best health over the coming colder spells.  

IMPROVE YOUR SOIL IN AUTUMN

When cultivating the soil, it is important to improve its texture and quality on an on-going basis.  Organic matter acts as soil conditioner by improving the structure, drainage and aeration characteristics.  

Sandy soils, characteristic of the Western Cape, have very little organic nutrients and generally don’t hold water well.  The addition of plenty of good quality organic matter such as compost and manure are recommended before any planting is done.  Some sandy soils even repel water; such soils need to be well mulched to reduce their hydrophobic tendencies.      

FERTILISE YOUR ENTIRE GARDEN

Beautiful summer gardens are created in autumn!  So, if you desire a beautiful, healthy garden that’s the envy of your neighbours by spring, fertilise your lawn, bulbs, and seedlings with an organic fertiliser which contains essential nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium.  Zinc is especially important as it aids growth in lower temperatures.