Author: Kevin Burness Date Posted:9 December 2021
The wet weather has arrived, soaking soil, filling tanks and watering gardens and lawns. With these conditions expected to continue and a La Nina summer forecast, Kevin from Simple Gardening gives us some tips that might help your garden survive!
Storm season has arrived and has been soaking soil, filling tanks and saving many the trouble of watering the garden and lawns. I’ve previously talked about planning and how to maximise water and conserve rain, but with many areas along Australia’s east coast experiencing wet conditions, I thought I might provide a few tips on gardening practices in rainy weather to help your garden survive the big wet ahead!
With the ongoing rain and a La Nina summer forecast, here’s a few tips that might help your garden, lawns and yard survive the possible wet weather ahead.
How to conserve water during wet weather
The only way to know how rain affects your yard is donning your gum boots and raincoat and getting amongst it, if it’s safe to do so of course! Look where water is pooling or running and check to see how fast it drains or soaks in.
It’s also wise to use the wet season and plan ahead for the next big dry! Is there a spot you can plant something that loves more water? Can you move a garden, plant or some pots that aren’t getting as much rain as they should and are still dry even though other spots are soaked?
There could be an area where swales will help slow water flow or drains prevent flooding issues. Planning now could help you prevent waterlogging and also capture what little rain the dry years bring, but it all comes down to understanding the way water moves around your yard.
Drainage isn’t always ideal, as I generally prefer slowing water flows and capturing as much rain as possible in the soil however, these conditions can be a challenge if your soil stays too wet for too long.
When it comes to excessive rain, it’s important to be aware that even a healthy and well-established garden can perish in ongoing wet conditions.
As soil gets saturated and all the air and oxygen is flooded out, many native plants, succulents and cacti could quickly drown and die. If not planted into a raised bed made up with free-draining soil, it’s a gamble with these plants when heavy rain hits.
Again, planning ahead is key! Raising garden beds, building mounds and contours can make a garden more appealing while also giving it the best chance during the wetter months. Try adding sand and organic matter to improve drainage however, this will take some time for the plants to adjust. Please note, this will help with some plants and lawns but avoid topping up around trees and shrubs, as this will most likely lead to rot issues.
How to minimise disease during wet weather
During wet and humid conditions, fungal, rot issues, disease and pest issues are likely to escalate. Here, I’m a fan of cultural and proactive measures to try and minimise my issues.
Pruning trees and shrubs in the traditional wine glass style will help let light and air into the centre of the trees. Look out for dense growth shading areas, as the prolonged cloudy days aren’t allowing as much sun into some areas. This is an ideal time to thin out tropical plants and move the cuttings into another garden or propagate in pots, as long as it’s a free draining medium.
Regular trimming, pruning and mowing will help keep some issues at bay until the sunny weather returns.
There are fungicides available, if needed, but in many cases a good couple of weeks of sun can reduce fungal outbreaks, if the garden has been maintained to help light and air breakdown the conditions, the microbiome will balance it out.
How to minimise pests during wet weather
With all the rain and regular applications of Plant Doctor’s products, be prepared for a great growing season! But all this growth also means an increase in pest insects.
Here’s where you need to try to control this with cultural practises, but it can be a challenge. Pests can be devastating and keep in mind that they also thrive with these ideal gardening conditions.
I’m not against insecticides, but I do avoid many of the stronger ones. I will use some sparingly on certain plants and certain insects, but I take care to know what I’m applying and why and what other things it may impact.
With the larger insects, I simply pluck them off plants and feed to my chooks. I do use Neem Spray Oil with Nature’s Soil Wetter as a coating deterrent on soft new leaf growth. This helps protect plants and prevent pest attacks. Take care to avoid spraying when beneficial insects are out, or when it’s hot as the oil could burn plants.
Best way to fertiliser in the rain
Keeping plants well fed and fertilised with a of broad-spectrum of nutrients. I love applying Plant Doctor fertilisers and compost when the weather permits. Avoid applying before heavy rain, as it will most likely wash away.
Using quality products and nutrients helps many of the micronutrients strengthen plants faster, so they are less appealing to pests. Well-fed plants will also recover and outgrow pest attacks.
While this part can be challenging, if you can wait it out, nature will balance out most things. Usually, a few weeks after the plant eating insects emerge, the predators start to catch up and take my word for it, the plant eaters are easy pickings for the predators.
The challenge is waiting and not getting over-zealous with strong insecticides that will impact the emerging predatory bugs as well. It’s difficult as many of us prideful gardeners struggle when precious plants are being decimated however, if you encourage a good balanced environment it can work in all but the most dire of circumstances.
Simple gardening isn’t about taking shortcuts, it’s about understanding a few principles and processes so the whole garden is part of a plan and you are better prepared for the challenges. There are years that come with higher rainfall and they come with these challenges, but if we’re prepared and have the right tools and mindset, it makes overcoming these challenges a lot easier.
I'm just an experienced and awesome gardener sharing my own personal opinions. These are all my personal approaches and processes I use in my gardens. I’d like to help guide others to better gardening practices through my experience and encourage more successful gardening in our communities.
Thankyou for Sharing10 December 2021Thank you for sharing you knowledge. I am an avid Gardener and Lawn Lover. I hate using Pesticides and it is a comfort to know that Nature does balance itself out with unwanted pests and the arrival of their predators. I've even developed a habit now of relocating the garden spiders from where I am working in my garden rather than killing them. A mighty step forward for me.
First time owning lawn. Gave the team at plant doctor a ring and they supplied me with a wealth of information. Products turned up quickly.
Will definitely be getting more 8 weeks difference been using stimulizer, activ8mate, soil wetter, seaweed secrets and champion fertiliser. Was super fast delivery.
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