Do you have big dreams for your garden this year, but don’t know where to begin?
Get started on the right path with these 7 basic design rules:
1. The Law of 'Significant Enclosure'
To create a sense of refuge & security within your garden follow the law of significant enclosure.
We feel safe & enclosed when 'the vertical edge of a space is at least one-third the length of the horizontal space'.
For example, if the area you are creating is 9m across (the horizontal space), the hedging / fencing / wall / should be at least 3m.
It can often be difficult to achieve this with boundary fence height constraints at 1.8m, but it helps to judge heights of hedging plant you might be considering.
2. Follow The Regulating Line
The concept of the regulating line is based upon identifying a distinctive or unique feature in your home, garden or the surrounding neighbourhood that can generate an imaginary line that connects & organises your garden's layout.
This might be a beautiful tree, a view, swimming pool, patio or outdoor deck, archway, pergola or sliding patio doors that open out into the garden.
This line can then be the basis of a grid formation which gives your garden an orderly, cohesive & clean structure that is then softened by planting.
3. Use the Golden Rectangle ratio to get the proportions right
The golden ratio is an equation of proportion to create a space that feels balanced.
The ratio is pretty much 1: 1.6 which you can use to decide the measurements for lawns, decks, raised planter beds, garden beds, swimming pools etc.
For example a 3m long lawn would be in proportion with a width of (3 x 1.6) = 4.8.
4. Bigger Is Better
Another rule of scale & space is that if you are faced with a decision about making a deck bigger or smaller, a main entrance pathway wider or narrow, a pool longer or shorter, an arbor higher or lower, the answer is always to go with the bigger option. It just makes the space feel generous & roomy.
5. Plant Big To Small
Plant big to small, starting with the structural trees & feature WOW plants, followed by the shrubs & filler plants and finally the groundcovers.
Having the larger plants in place first helps you see the composition of the garden beds in a clearer way. It is also more practical. Planting larger trees & shrubs requires more space to dig & move earth about and if this is done first you minimise the risk of disturbing smaller plants.
6. Plant a 50-cent plant in a $5 hole, rather than a $5 plant in a 50-cent hole.
If plants are not well planted at the most favourable times of year, the results are highly likely to be disappointing.
A suitable plant for the soil conditions, placed at the right height in a sufficiently sized and well prepared hole, soaked before planting, in autumn and early spring is far more likely to thrive.
7. Plant In Masses
Russell Page, one of the great twentieth-century landscape designers said it well: “the most striking and satisfying visual pleasure comes from the repetition or the massing of one simple element. Imagine the Parthenon with each column a different kind of marble!”
Once you have chosen a combination of plants that complement each other in relation to size, colour, form & texture feel confident to purchase significant numbers of them to fill the space. Measure your garden bed and find out the spread / size of the plant at maturity, so you can calculate how many you need to completely cover the garden bed.
If you are making plans to build, expand, or redesign your garden (or even just one area) in 2019, following these tried and tested garden design rules will definitely help you lay the foundation for the perfect garden design.
If you need some additional garden design advice & guidance, our 90 minute garden design consultation is the perfect solution.
Your 90 minute personal onsite consultation includes:
Contact us now to book your spot - email email@example.com.
P.S. During the month of February, the cost is $350 incl. (normally $450) so get in touch today.
The New Year always brings about new intentions, plans to revitalise parts of our lives and our gardens are no exception.
Tidy out the shed, rejuvenate garden beds and attempt to grow new plants, flowers, fruit & vegetables.
Here are a few simple & inspiring ideas to kick start a successful gardening year.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
MAKE MAINTENANCE EASY
CARE FOR WILDLIFE
HAVE SOME FUN
So a fresh start & new opportunities for you & your garden this year.
Want to get some gardening work done in 2019, maybe you are planning a renovation and need a landscape design or maybe an area of your garden needs some rejuvenation & new planting? Get in touch - now is the perfect time to start planning as autumn is the best time of year for planting.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the garden with friends and family over the holiday season. The abundance of flowers and summer colour and harvesting fruit and vegetables.
Don't worry if you didn't have time to plant fresh herbs and lettuce. There is still time now to pop to the garden centre, get some seedlings and pop them in. I'm enjoying my basil and tomato plants that I only planted on the 23rd December.
Here are my top 3 essential January jobs...
1. Watering (the right way!)
If you are going to water the garden, make sure you do it right. Deep infrequent watering develops a much better root system for your plants. I recommend 1 - 2 buckets of water per plant every 5 - 7 days. This is obviously dependent on the size of plant, but if you remember the size of the plastic container your plant came in, you want that volume of water x 2. This should be delivered slowly at the base of the plant with a slow running hose (not the spray setting on your hose attachment) in the mid to late evening.
2. Keep On Top Of Your Weeds
Weeds compete for the small amounts of moisture in your soil, so do your plants a favour and make sure they are getting all the water at this time of year. Keeping on top of the weeds is easier said than done, but if you can keep on top of them and just wander once a day pulling out the little ones, then your garden will thank you for it.
3. Plan Your Future Garden
If you are wanting to improve your garden, make it lower maintenance and more attractive for this new year, now is the perfect time to start that process.
Autumn is the perfect time to make changes in the garden as it is the longest time before the harsh summer, for the plants to get established, so now is the time to start thinking and planning for those changes.
Start the process NOW by contacting me via email at email@example.com. We are qualified landscape designers as well as qualified and experienced gardeners, so are the perfect people to chat too.
We offer consultation & design advice too where Naomi & I share our knowledge & the essential information on what's best to plant, what will survive and thrive and garden layouts and designs that will suit you, your style and family home. Get in touch today.
Type of Mulch
Picking the right mulch for your gardening needs is an important step in determining how much of the product you will need.
1. Fine Mulch: Fine mulches include products like bark mulch, which is partially decomposed wood products and shredded mulches commonly found in nurseries. These products are useful for adding a bit of color to your garden, as well as improving your soil and encouraging the growth of your plants.
2. Coarse Mulch: Coarse Mulch includes pine nuggets and bark chips. These are not shredded products and are good for controlling weeds and making your garden look better. However, since it has not began to decompose, it is best used where there isn't the need for soil improvement.
3. Stone: While stones like river rocks and pea gravel are not often thought of when considering mulch, it can be very useful when choosing a mulch for your garden. Stones can stabilize your garden if it is prone to washout, like on a hill. It is also a simple and elegant touch for raising the appeal of your garden. When using stone, consider using weed fabric to help appearance and make cleaning it up easy.
How Much do You Need?
For many, determining the amount of mulch needed for a garden can be a bit daunting. To begin, you will want to measure the length and width of the area you plan to mulch in metres. Then, multiply those numbers to get the area of your garden. If you have multiple areas to mulch, repeat this process for each section and add them together to find the total amount of coverage you need.
Next you will want to determine how thick you want to lay the mulch. For finer mulches in a flower bed you will want to lay about 5 - 10cm of mulch while coarser mulches can be laid in a thickness of up to 15 cms. Stones do not need to be laid as thick and should cover the ground with around 5cm.
Once you have determined how thick you want to lay your mulch. It's time for more math. You will multiply your total area by how deep you want your mulch. If you have a garden that is 40 square metres and you want it to be 10cm or 0.1m deep, multiply those numbers (40m x 0.1m) to get 4 cubic metres of mulch. This will cover 40 square metres 10 cm deep.
For non even numbers, you will want to round up to the nearest whole number to get the total cubic metres of mulch you will need for your garden. If you have a round bed, you will want to find the radius of the bed and square it by multiplying it by itself. Then, multiply the resulting number by 3.14. Once you have the resulting number, you find the depth and total number just as you would with a rectangular bed.
This process will help take the guesswork out of buying mulch. By using this method, you can finish styling your garden and enjoy the view even quicker after a hard days work.
If you would like us to pop round and quote to mulch your garden before summer, contact us HERE today.
Author Bio : Thank you to Sarah Bradley for writing our blog for us this month. Sarah works for “Yourgreenpal and she loves gardening and lawn care.
Do you need a plan to help you create an attractive low maintenance garden?
Do you want to add value to your property by installing a great garden but not sure what is going to work?
Are you sick of coming home to a garden of need yet yearn for a garden of Eden?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, come and join me on my new, online garden design course.
Over 4 weeks, using online learning methods such as videos, handouts emailed to you and a 'one on one' Skype consultation, this self paced course, which requires no more than 2 hours per week, will help you create your own garden plan.
I will share all my knowledge, tips, skills & tricks of the trade, as well as my supplier list (which will save you hundreds of dollars) to help you create the garden of your dreams.
There are only 5 places per course to ensure you each receive my individual attention, so click on the link below to grab your spot.
We were lucky enough to enjoy an afternoon at this beautiful house on the cliff in Castor Bay late last year. The wonderful garden design framed the view perfectly - out over the Hauraki Gulf to Rangitoto and beyond. And yes - the pool was as cold as it looked for Molly & Charlie.
Sadly, we aren't all lucky enough to have a wonderful view like this, but we can all create a view within our own garden.
First, find an appealing object or view that deserves attention. That might be within your garden or you could "borrow" a view from outside your garden, as the owners have done here. This could be the point where the sun sets, a neighbour's beautiful tree or the Waitakere's in the distance. Within your garden, look for your focal points (if you don't have a focal point in your garden, it may be time to create one!) such as a bench, an impressive plant or tree, a water feature or an urn or vase.
You can also frame views within your garden too with arbors, gaps in fences, plantings and gates. Create a sense of excitement and intrigue as you move into the space.
In both cases learning to recognize axial relationships in your garden is one of the best ways to site your framed view. A visual axis or sight line is simply the line or view the eye follows from one point to an object in the distance. Stand in the area of your garden with the strongest or most appealing vantage point. This could be your front door, back deck or even inside your house looking through a window or open door. Look out from your vantage point and select the strongest object in view. This may be the vista of a river beyond, or a potting shed, a large tree or the steeple of a church in the distance. This line between point "A" and point "B" is your primary axis.
Once the scene or object has been identified and the sight line has been established, the next step is to consider ways to frame the view to screen out surrounding distractions and direct the eye toward the object or vista. This is much easier than you might think. The pendulous branches of a weeping tree can be removed above a path, thereby framing the path itself, heightening the pleasure for anyone who walks along the path. Allowing a climbing rose to trail around your kitchen window or offering a glimpse of your house through a grove of cabbage trees are just a few ways of framing your garden without a lot of effort.
In some cases, it will be important to screen undesirable views or objects to eliminate distractions, such as a neighbour’s house, power lines, or rubbish bins. Once you determine the view that you want to highlight, look for existing elements to help build your screen. Privacy fences, buildings, existing trees and evergreens can all be incorporated to eliminate distractions and frame the attractive components.
If you have a view that you would like to enhance or undesirable objects that need to be eliminated, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help you with some free advice.
1. You don't spend any time in your garden!
It's summer and you want to be relaxing after work in the garden on these balmy evenings. If you aren't going out into the garden, it must mean it isn't a great place to be. Maybe you have nowhere to sit, either alone or with your friends. We can design these social spaces into your garden - so entertaining just happens effortlessly.
2. You don't invite your friends over in the summer as there is nowhere comfortable to sit with them.
Leading on from point 1, if you like to have people over, you need the right space to put them. Is your garden table big enough to accommodate them - do you have seating to cater for your friend's family & children plus your own? I've never heard anyone say their deck is too big, but I've seen plenty of decks that are ridiculously small. Our designs ensure that you will have spaces big enough to entertain successfully.
3. People aren't quite sure where your front door is.
If you have had the courier man turn up at the wrong door and give you a fright or you have to give friends clear instructions on how to find you, we can design clear indicators to your front entranceway - pots, letterboxes, stylish house numbers and taller entrance trees can all signal your front door.
4. You can look directly into your neighbour's house.
No one likes people staring straight into their home and we are asked all the time to screen out undesirable views. We offer some great planting options to increase your privacy from neighbouring properties.
5. Your garden is untidy and covered with weeds.
This is a sign that there is a mismatch between your garden and your ability to keep on top of it. Either you dislike the garden so much you don't care about it (mismatch between your style and the garden's style) or the garden requires more maintenance than you can manage (mismatch between your lifestyle and the garden's requirements). Either way, we match the garden to your ability to look after it and your own personal style, so you'll love to keep it looking great all year round.
6. You step on only grass when walking around your property.
Wet, muddy shoes and feet and mowing funny little strips of lawn. In NZ, the land where people go in bare feet, sealed or hard surfaces are great when you need to pop out to the veggie patch, hang out washing, use the BBQ or hop into the spa pool. We learn about how you behave, so we can design a garden which is comfortable to be in.
7. You can see your washing line when relaxing on your deck / in the garden / in your living room.
Do you want your friends to see your underwear collection when they pop by? Exactly - let's place the washing line in a spot where you don't have to see it when you are relaxing and having fun.
8. Your washing line has grass underneath it.
Oh dear - it's got really windy and washing has fallen onto the muddy grass. Concrete pad or pavers under the washing line please - say no more!
9. Your lawn doesn't have a defined edge to it.
Problems - grass migrating into the garden beds, messy edges, visually untidy = solution of mowing strip to keep your garden looking neat and tidy.
10. Your dustbins clutter the driveway or your front door.
Let's put the bins either in a bin unit or create a utility area in a suitable place where all the visually unattractive bits and pieces can go and it can be screened out of sight.
If your garden displays the signs that it needs a redesign, here's my email. Get in touch - I offer a FREE consult where we can chat about what you can do to create a garden that works for you, makes your life easier and adds value to your home.
1. Buying pots of differing colours, shapes, sizes & material
When buying pots, either buy the same colour or the same shape in the same material but not everything at once. The image above shows pots of a similar shape, material and colour but in different sizes.
2. Not buying big enough
When you buy a pot, the pot, or the grouping of pots needs to take up a third of the space it will sit in. This often means investing in a really large pot, or many large pots. The image above shows just how generously sized pots can look really great in a big space.
3. Not buying enough
Repetition works well when it comes to containers - buying the same container and running it along a pathway with the same planting can look striking.
For help sourcing, styling and planting your pots and containers, contact us via email today.
Was just asked this question by a client....
Can I spray the weeds around kowhai, without getting the kowhai – or do I just weed them out as best I can?
Well Kathryn - in an ideal world we would all have the time and patience to keep on top of all the weeds in our gardens and carefully weed each one by hand, but weed killer does do the job faster. You can now get good organic weedkillers and you can find them in the "organic" section in your local garden centre.
This is a great weeding hack using a plastic bottle. Remember, only weed on dry, still days, so the spray doesn't carry - but using this method, the spray is all targeted directly onto the plant you want rid of.
I know some gardeners who tape the bottle onto the nozzle of their backpack sprayer or pump sprayer - that works too.
To book one of our sparkly gardeners to come and weed your garden, send me a text on 021 549 161 and before you know it, one of our gardeners will have made all your weeds disappear as if by magic!
Successfully combining plants is a wonderfully creative art. Successfully combining plants that then thrive in the spot you want them to, takes it to the next level.
Here are a collection of stunning and effective plant combinations, that if put in the right spot are guaranteed to look amazing!
If we can help finding that spot, we'd be delighted to come and help you. Email me at email@example.com
I always notice when people get new fences put up around my neighbourhood. I like to see how they are constructed, good quality workmanship and any new ideas I can poach for my designs!
In the past few months, I've seen quite a few solid fences being constructed around my way. Lots of solid fences at 1.8m tall running right along the front of the section.
For new builds, the Unitary Plan is very specific on new front fences and walls, depending on your zoning. The following regulations are for the mixed housing suburban zone.
H4.6.14. Front, side and rear fences and walls
Purpose : to enable fences and walls to be constructed on a front, side or rear boundary or within a front, side or rear yard to a height sufficient to:
(ii) 1.8m in height for no more than 50 per cent of the site frontage and 1.2m for the remainder, or
(iii) 1.8m in height if the fence is at least 50 per cent visually open. (b) Within the side and rear yards: 2m.
What I understand from this, is that it is important that we can still see what is happening at the front of our neighbours' houses, in a passive, non-obtrusive way. In Hauraki, where I live, there has been a recent increase in burglaries. It would be interesting to know if those poor homes targeted are more "hidden away" from the main streets than others.
I personally think that running a solid fence along the front of your home doesn't add street appeal. It looks unwelcoming and harsh, especially without some planting in front to soften it. The Unitary Plan refers to that as "visually dominating". Imagine what our neighbourhoods would look like if everyone ran a solid fence / wall across the front of their property.
My advice for anyone thinking of replacing their front fencing is to contact the Council to ensure that it is compliant or ask your fencing contractor to check for you. I would hate for people to spend a considerable sum building a fence, only to have someone from the Council request you to comply with the new regulations. Currently it seems a bit of a grey area whether the new fencing regulations apply to new builds only.
Finally, what this means for garden designers is that we are having to be really creative - which is great! Here is a design we did recently for the front of a client's property, where 50% of the front is solid, with the remaining 50% being visually open.
If you are thinking of redesigning the front of your property, we would be delighted to assist with a creative solution! Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Emma Lakauski
More often than not, when we design for new clients, they ask for a low maintenance garden or even a no maintenance garden, to which we always respond that there is no such thing.
What you can do however is make some great choices on garden layout, plant & surface choices.
1. Opt for big garden beds rather than small ones. A densely planted garden bed filled with a tightly knit matrix of plants requires little grooming and pruning to control its size. Know how large each plant is going to grow so you can space the plants accordingly.
2. Don't forget to plant ground cover plants - they create a carpet on the earth, which makes it more difficult for weeds to take hold.
3. Keep lawn areas to a minimum and make sure they have distinct borders or edging. Install deep gravel paths instead of grassy walkways and think about increasing deck or patio sizes. I often say to clients that I have never heard anyone say their deck is too big, (say that in a Kiwi accent for a giggle).
4. Select plants for their drought-tolerance, suitability for soil type and hardiness. It is a great idea to employ the services of a garden designer at this stage who can suggest a portfolio of hardy, low maintenance plants that will complement each other and your home.
5. Make sure that if you are planting hedging plants, you know how tall they can grow. Nothing can be more expensive or high maintenance than keeping hedges in check.
6. Mulch, mulch, mulch - the best way to improve your soil and keep weeds down.
If you need advice on plants that would be ideal for a low maintenance garden, contact me via email on email@example.com and we'd be delighted to help.
Great gap fillers
Here is our pick of the bunch for great plants which can fill the gaps in your garden, between your show stopping plants and the ground covers.
If you need help choosing your garden's fillers, contact us. We'd be delighted to pop round and give some advice. Email us to book an appointment
I stopped my car to take photos of the front of this Westmere house today. Great architecture and great native plant selection for garden design.
The Poor Knights Lily, Xeronema callistemon looks great mass planted on the left. This is a fascinating plant as there are only two in the genus Xeronema. Its sister (Xeronema morrei) lives in the mountains of New Caledonia, whereas callistemon emerged from the Poor Knights and the Hen Islands near Whangarei. Looking great mass planted in pots too, it doesn't mind being root bound, and does well growing between rock features too. What it does mind though is getting wet feet, so it must be very well drained. Slow growing, the stunning bright red flower is well worth waiting for.
The plant combination on the right mixes Oioi (Apodasmia similis), with the striking form of the juvenile savage Lancewood (Pseudopanax ferox) with mounds of Muehlenbeckia axillaris. This low garden maintenance design combines the best in New Zealand native plant textures and forms and looks super stylish in front of this modern urban home.
This lovely front garden spotted in Rothesay Bay has a perfect contrast of texture, colour and form. The brown red Coprosma 'Red Rocks' winding its way through a contrasting Coprosma 'Poor Knights' as they both start to cascade over the retaining wall.
Climbing in the other direction, the Metrosideros perforata is a great choice if you need to cover a mass of retaining timber or block work. You'll be rewarded with a mass of white flowers in mid summer, which the bumble bees just love.
The background wallpaper of this composition is Macropiper excelsa, or Kawakawa, with its big heart shaped leaves. Kawakawa leaves are known for their medicinal properties too.
New Zealand native planting is all about using these wonderful textures and forms in interesting and modern ways, which can be brought into our home gardens. Native plants are often cheaper to buy than others and of course they are perfectly suited to living here!
For more advice and ideas on bringing native plants into your garden, get in touch with us below.
At this time of the year, when garden growth is on ‘turbo’, it’s great to give your soil a boost with our Fabulous Feed – a specialised blend of organic fertiliser that’s designed to give North Shore gardens what they need most.
A Fabulous Feed will improve the quality of your soil, increase and support growth, and strengthen plants’ resistance to drought and disease.
Contact us below to organise your Fabulous Feed.
October in New Zealand is one of the most exciting months for the garden. There is so much potential with Spring, springing forth, especially after all the rain.
So what are the big jobs?
Basically - FEED & MULCH. We are talking feeding citrus, lawns, roses, your vegetable beds, your plant beds, large leaved tropical plants, everything that needs a boost after the winter.
If you don't have dogs, then I love chucking sheep pellets over the garden. Not only do they feed but also improve the quality and texture of the North Shore clay soil. If you do have dogs, (dogs love to each sheep pellets!) get some of the plug and hose seaweed products and do a liquid feed.
Other jobs include:
Rose lover? - then it is time to plant, spray and feed.
With all this rain, get some Quash, slug and snail pellets and scatter those through the garden, around the plants that get munched.
With all the stunning Magnolia blooms bursting out, spring is nearly here.
The warmer soil prompts new spring growth, so it's a busy time in the garden.
Now is the time to get planting your veggies.
New herb plants can be planted into your pots or herb garden - basil, coriander, and parsley, ready for those summer salads and dressings.
As it is a little warmer with still the rain, now is the perfect time to sow new lawns.
If you suffer from prickles in your grass, spray for Onehunga weed.
In warmer areas, early tomatoes can be planted directly into the garden.
Spring is one of the best times to plant a new garden. If your garden is needing some TLC, some rejuvenation and a good tidy before summer BBQ's, give us a call and we'll pop over to turn your garden of need into the Garden of Eden!
Call Claire on 021 549 161.
Silver plants do a great job of reflecting the sunlight throughout your garden. In a shady corner, the silver gives a real depth between light and shade, reflecting light back into the garden.
My favourite (seen above as the main focus of this planting) is Astelia 'Silver Spear', a NZ native with large architectural foliage, which makes a bold statement in a bed or container. This plant can get to a grand size - 1.5m tall with a spread of up to 2m.
Convolvulus cneorum 'Silver Bush' is a good rock garden evergreen shrub with silvery, silky leaves & large pale pink & white funnel shaped flowers. It prefers a full sun & well drained position and not to be watered in dry periods. It is coastally hardy and prune it severely for new growth. It sprawls as a groundcover 60cm high by 1m spread.
Heuchera 'Prince of Silver' has shimmering leaves, overlaid with dark purple veins which age to a gentle shade of mossy green. In spring, the eye-catching foliage is joined by delicate sprays of creamy flowers that emerge from pink buds, 45cm high by 30cm spread
The last silver foliage plant that I have grown both in containers, spilling down the sides and also as a ground cover is Dichondra 'Silver Falls'. This fantastic silver foliage is drought tolerant and prefers full sun.
Silver plants never look better than when planted alongside lavender blue flowers such as Lavender, Agapanthus cultivars, Salvia, Sage or Iris.
So bring a bit of silver into your garden and breakup all the green. And for a free onsite garden consultation, where we can advise you on which plant to place where, call us on 021 549 161 today.
Pruning is the removal of dead or unneeded branches to encourage the growth of flowers. Usually a tree will end up devoting energy to branches that don't need it, while neglecting branches which are bearing more fruit. If you remove the branches that are taking all the nutrients, you will begin to see a flourish in the other ones. Pruning also keeps the tree in shape by keeping the branches even. This prevents it from becoming weighed down on one side. Having too many branches on one side could cause the tree to become permanently crooked.
Many gardeners don't even think about pruning their trees until they start to bear fruit. This is a big mistake, and you should never neglect to care for a tree just because it hasn't yet beg to produce. During the entire process of growth, you should prune the tree in a way that it is even and uniform. Then, when it does start to produce fruit, the results will be significantly greater. It is very easy to tell the difference between a tree that has been pruned regularly during its growth, and one that has been neglected. Generally the shape of the tree is much more natural looking if it has been pruned. The shape you are wanting to aim for is an open vase like shape with 3 or 4 main outward facing branches.
The first thing to look for when you start pruning is any branches which are dead or diseased. These are quite easy to recognise. Usually they don't bear any fruit, and might be misshapen or discoloured. Don't hesitate at all in chopping these guys off, as they are nothing but detrimental to the health of your tree. Sometimes a branch can be dead or diseased without making it too obvious. If this is the case, simply wait until the tree is flowering and it will become obvious by not growing anything.
The second type of branch to look for is the branch that is too close in range to all the other ones. If it grows at such a length and angle that the end is right next to all the other branches, they might end up crowding each other out. Take off the smaller of the two branches to allow the larger one to have the breathing room that it needs. This same rule applies to the weight balance of your tree. Sometimes, for reasons we will never understand, a tree will grow several branches on one side and weigh itself into being lopsided.
So hopefully I have provided you with a basic knowledge of pruning. There are more situations and types of branches that require pruning, but what I've outlined is the very basic parts. These can alter depending on how old your tree is. For example, for the first 3 years of a tree's growth it requires pruning that follows more informative guidelines. After the tree is well established, you will need to use regular pruning to keep it where you would like it to be. There are entire books written on how to prune trees depending on how old they are. There are far too many techniques for me to go over, so if you want to use these advanced techniques then head to your local library and check out a pruning book.
Sooty mould affects citrus trees and it is at this time of year when we are wanting to pick our lovely lemons for hot lemon and ginger to ward off colds and flu.
Sooty mould is a black fungal disease that develops on the fruit, stems and leaves. It is a secondary infection as it grows on the secretions of scale insects like aphids, mealybugs and whitefly.
To treat it - wash off the soot by wiping with a strong detergent / soap solution over the tree in the cooler months, like now! It is important to wipe off the soot as it can block the sun's light to the plant and reduce photosynthesis, which is essential for plant growth.
To prevent it - you need to deal with the pests that created the secretions - so spray the plant with a insect control spray, such as Yates Success Ultra at the first sign of bugs being present. If you dont like spraying, then an open shaped tree discourages insects, so give your tree a good prune this winter to reduce the density of its branches.
Autumn is nature's best planting time
This is a great time of year to plant, feed and fertilise. The soil is still warm and plants have the longest possible time to establish themselves before summer.
Feeding now means that plants go into winter healthy and ready for the next growing season - a liquid feed and sheep pellets will do the trick.
Mulch acts as a barrier, so a good layer now will help suppress those spring weeds.
Dig a hole twice as wide as the pot your plant came in. The hole should be the same depth as the pot your plant came in.
Gently remove the plant from its pot and into the hole. If the roots seem congested around the base, you can gently prise them loose.
Backfill with a mix of topsoil (the soil that came out out the hole), a handful of compost or garden mix and sheep pellets.
In heavy clay soils, like those on the North Shore, in Auckland, if you are planting a tree or shrub which prefer free draining soils, plant into a mound and improve drainage with some gypsum and compost. Add a slow release fertiliser too, for a great start.