Native trees for your April backyard
The fantastic thing about native Australian trees and shrubs – or one of the fantastic things about them! – is that you we can plant them at any time of the year. However, if we had to pick out a time of year that is the best for this, we’d have to say April or the other autumn months. That’s because with the soil still warm and a relatively moist winter coming up, the plants will get to growing straight away.
The natives we are thinking of are those that are perfect, by reason of their size and beauty, for suburban lots. That is: melaleucas, grevilleas, callistemons, (bottlebrushes), banksia, leptospermum and prostanthera species.
Eucalypts are fabulous too if you have a large enough block, as they tend to grow very large, they are fast growing, and they need regular attention from a qualified arborist to prevent danger from dropping branches. There are also many attractive smaller eucalypts – contact us at AllRound for advice on smaller varieties that are native to south-east Queensland.
April is for getting your native garden established
Now is the best time to get your native trees established.
The secret is to plant small so that the roots will establish well. Taller plants that have been in containers are likely to have trouble establishing their roots, and will “sulk” for some time after planting. They may end up top-heavy and skimpy in the roots, leaving them unstable in high weather. Instead, when you are buying, choose small plants in tubes or in small, very long containers that have allowed the seedlings to send roots down deeply. These will often overtake larger plants from shallower pots once planted.
The day before you plant, give the soil a good, long, deep soaking. This will give the seedlings a head start, but congratulations again on your choice of native trees and shrubs. They are not just beautiful but hardy, and will thrive wet soil, dry soil or cold soil.
Be careful not to plant too closely to houses and other buildings. Most native trees and shrubs will readily ignite from embers.
Finally, don’t stake your young native trees. It is simply not necessary and will weaken them by making them top-heavy and dependent. They may be more likely to topple in wind or remain stunted. It is necessary for young natives to withstand winds to strengthen them and render them flexible.
Caring for your native trees
Most of these lovelies are easily cultivated and kept for suburban plots. They just need a little occasional hand pruning, which should always be timed after flowering, with the cutting made just behind the seed pods. This will help create a denser, more flowery shrub.
Natives have a low need for fertiliser, but if you are going to fertilise, this is the time, over the next autumn month or two.
Take care to water smarter at this time of year. First thing in the morning is great, and a good deep soaking a couple of times a week is better than several sprinkles. Don’t forget to top up your mulch after watering. Weeding is also important at this time of year.
Enjoying your native garden
And last but not least, remember to enjoy your natives. They will look beautiful all year around, and once established, attract native bees and a wide variety of native birds.
For all advice about planting, maintaining and caring for your native trees and shrubs, contact AllRound Tree Services today.