Meg’s Monthly Musings (Garden Tips)

Megs fenced garden

Valuable insights regarding planting & gardening in our local region.

This month, hold off on heavy pruning: In general terms, deciduous trees are either pruned in winter when they are dormant, or in summer when they are in active growth. Winter pruning during the early years will result in lots more new growth come spring time. Summer pruning is great for shaping larger trees, opening up the centre to improve air flow and removing branches that grow inwards or rub other branches. This type of pruning doesn’t stimulate lots of growth and heals quickly. We usually avoid pruning these trees as we head into autumn because they are more prone to problems at the site of the cut; our winters are dryer, and autumn is generally wetter, with lots of lovely leaf mould forming as a consequence.

Autumn leaf fall is nature’s annual gift to the garden. You can leave things where they are, rake some up and store them for adding to compost as your “dry” or “brown” component, or allow them to break down into leaf mould, an almost magical substance that helps to restore bacterial balance to your soil. Add it to weed tea to give it a good dose of healthy bacteria that prevents foul odours and dilute the results for free liquid fertiliser. This makes sense if you think about it. Ruminants like cows and horses eat grass and weeds and digest it to produce manure. Weed teas, made well, are another way to produce a similar product. As with all things permaculture, the more useful diversity the better.