McKechnie Nurseries
McKechnie Nurseries, Robinson Road, Coatesville, RD3, Albany
 
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Grant's Handy Hints

for cutting back
If you have an evergreen that needs to be cut back, it's a good idea to fertilise three weeks or so prior to pruning. This will help the plant respond and produce new growth.

for healthy cabbage trees
Spray for caterpillars at first sign of infestation, and avoid piling bark mulch up against the trunk. Bark harbours slaters, which love to chew the soft trunks, often below ground level.

for hedge trimming
Trimming a hedge once a year gives you a tidy hedge, twice a year gives you a neat hedge, and three times a year gives you a neat and tidy hedge. Trimming once every second year is a hack and gives you bare patches.

for mulching
'Lay it on thick' is the motto to remember when mulching. A good 10 - 15 cm (4 - 6 inches) of bark, sawdust, or similar material on top of the soil after you've planted your tree will help suppress weeds and aid moisture retention over summer.

for planters
Get your spade nice and sharp before you start planting - it makes digging holes much easier, especially if you have to get through the grass. (Watch out for those toes, though.)

for planters
Usually the top 100mm (four inches) of soil is your best, so when planting, keep it to one side, then, when you've finished digging, put it in the bottom of the hole. That way, it's under the plant, and not wasted.

for watering
If you plant in summer, or close to it - or if it's a particularly dry summer - remember the basic rule: one good, deep watering a week is much better than a light sprinkle every day. One good drink will get your plants through the driest week. Two good waterings are even better. Even more effective is mulching. A good layer of mulch keeps the ground moist most of the time.

Wetland planting - tips for success
Even for plants that thrive in the wet, sometimes it's a big ask to take plants from the nursery and throw them in at the deep end (so to speak) in your swamp at home. A little adjustment is required on the plant's part. Take a swamp flax, for instance. It's more than happy in the wet, but if you can keep it a little out of the slop when planting, it will get conditioned and migrate into the swamp. If the ground is badly pugged, sometimes it is enough to plant on top of the pug. If the ground has a bit of a slope to it, simply creating a slit in the soil with your spade on the downhill side will drain the water away from the roots. Wetland plantings are mostly done in spring or even summer when the swamp is at its least wet. By the time the next winter comes along, the plants have grown accustomed to the conditions.

 

©2010 Grant McKechnie


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