Many of the shrubs such as Tecoma capensis (Cape honeysuckle) and Plumbago auriculata would have finished flowering and are ready for a good haircut. Reduce the size of the shrubs to a third of their size.
Remove all dried and broken branches plus leaves and add some compost and fertiliser to the base of the shrub. Water well. These plants will push new growth before the dry winter season.
Lawns still have another six weeks to two months of active growth. Keep cutting the grass as long as possible, fertilise with 5.1.5 fertiliser and top dress with lawn dressing which you can buy at any garden centre.
With the recent rains and with rains predicted for the next few weeks, your lawns will have time to recover after the dry periods we have experienced recently.
Keep an eye out for alien plants that may have germinated in your garden. Seeds are either blown in by the winds or dispersed by birds, so it’s important to know what is an alien and to remove them before they become a problem.
The best way to remove aliens is physically and before they flower so seeds are not dispersed and become more of a problem.
Try to prevent creating open patches in your gardens because this is when aliens become a problem. Open patches are exposed to the sun and the first plants that appear are aliens. Try to cover those areas with indigenous plants, especially groundcovers.
When planting, it is important to select the right plants for the right areas: large shrubs in the back of the flower beds and lower groundcovers in the front. Mix up your planting because this creates a natural diverse landscape.
Select plants that will attract birds and butterflies.
Watch for fungal problems on your plants, especially during these warm humid months. Best to prune those parts of the plant worst affected or spray with a fungicide such as Dithane M45.
This article was published on The Independent on Saturday