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APRIL 2018-WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING IN YOUR TOP END GARDEN THIS MONTH

Saturday, April 14, 2018 | Regina Downes | Comments (0)

LAWN MAINTENANCE

 

If unfortunately your lawn is in shreds after machines have driven over it and destroyed it, whilst they have been trying to remove any fallen trees post cyclone Marcus, I am sorry it is not a pretty sight I know.

If its a big job, you will need to get a bob cat in and loosen all the soil firstly, than add fresh top soil and level the the lawn so it all is the same height. You can then replant it, using either grass runners, lawn seed or lay rolled turf. If you leave it bare, your other lawn grass should grow back over it, but I think the weeds will get there first and grow over the fresh soil. It is important to keep your new lawn (or lawn patch) well watered and it would do no harm to add some gypsum to this area either just to aid in drainage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHRUBS

 

Not sure where even to begin! Post cyclone Marcus

All across the top end shrubs have taken quite a beaten, from been knocked over by the big winds, to trees falling on them and debris smashing up against them, yet they still show signs of life.

The good thing about living in the top end is that our plants are resilient, I guess its kinda like its residents, throw a cyclone at us and we will get back up again, a bit battered but we get up again.

I usually give clients the lecture on the best time to prune plants back hard is September-October, when the humidity is normally at its highest and your sweating in places you never knew even existed on your body before you came to live in the territory.

The high humidity means plants grow like crazy, so when you do prune them back hard they grow back super fast and are looking fresh and beautiful when the dry season arrives.

The dry season is approaching and the interstate family and visitors will be arriving soon, so its time to start getting our shrubs back to their beautiful tropical selves. Its time to get pruning!


Prune back all your bushy screening and hedging plants such as; (remove any thin leggy growth or broken branches)
  • Murraya
  • Radermachera
  • Duranta
  • Hibiscus
  • Graptophylums
  • Pseuderanthums
Gingers; (if you want-divide the rhizomes & replant else where in the garden)
Prune back to ground level if you want
  • Etlingera (torch gingers)
  • Zinigber (beehive gingers)
  • Alpinias (shell and red/pink candles)
  • Costus (button ginger)
Heliconias; (if you want-divide the rhizomes & replant else where in the garden)
  • Pisttacorums & all taller growing plants-prune back to ground level if you want
Bamboo (Bambusa)-all types
  • Buddhas belly
  • Timor black
  • Multiplexia
  • Dwarf Malay
Ixoras-all tpes
  • Superking
  • Malay pink
  • Pirates gold
TREES & PALMS

 

 

Frangipani (Plumeria)
If your Frangipani tree has fallen or taken a beating you may still be able to save it.
If its very Top heavy-cut off some branches-prune them right back to the trunk
Stake the tree so its standing upright-leave the stake for a few months until the tree is more stable
These trees can take a hard pruning and will grow back.
 


If you happen to be so lucky and have lots of mulch sitting at your home, I urge you to start moving it asap-weather its into the garden or else where. (easy for me to say I am not the one having to wheel barrow it!) as leaving mulch sit for long periods of time WILL attract termites.

 

 

Plumeria Pudica (everlasting love)
As these beauties are some what top heavy, I have seen quiet a number of them knocked over. This is not a problem, just straighten them up and give the crown (top) a hard prune back. It will look a woody for a while but it will grow back quiet quickly.

If you do have trees and they have not fallen over from the cyclone, just have a quick check over them, as I have found many trees around Darwin with centre splits and or unsafe branches hanging. These need to be removed asap as they still pose a danger to you and the public.

 

GROUND COVERS

 Give your ground covers a tidy up and prune back, just to encourage a bushy habit. With all the rain still around, they will grow back pretty quickly. 


Prune back your grasses
  • Pennisetum rubra (Purple fountain grass)
  • Chrysopogon grasses (NT native)
Divide and replant any of these ground covers;
  • Hymenocalis (spider lilies)
  • Arachis pintoi (peanut plant)
  • Alternathea species
  • Pygmy pandanus
  • Hemigraphis edgy
  • Ipomea sp
  • Russelia sp

 

THE EDIBLE PATCH

There was no escaping Cyclone Marcus, even our edibles got a beaten! 


Banana Trees
If your Banana trees foliage got shredded but the stems are fine, just remove the old foliage and new foliage will grow back
If like me your Banana trunks fell over and snapped than I am afraid you need to chop it off and throw it away. The good thing about Banana plants is they sucker, so you will always have more and more.

Mulberry tree
Give your Mulberry tree a really good hard prune back, to get it looking bushy again. Its very tough and a great screening edible plant

For some reason I have not seen many Mango trees knocked over, if your Mango did take a beaten, prune off any unsafe or damaged branches. Mangoes can take a hard prune back also.

Many citrus trees did take a hit from the cylcone, more so their foliage than their actual branches. Foliage will always grow back. Keep a watchful eye out for leaf miner and caterpillars they love the new citrus leaves! Below is a list of hardy edibles that you can continue growing this time of year.

Lemons Mulberries white and black
Limes Egyptian spinach
Oranges Sweet Leaf
Paw Paw (not small seedling) Jackfruit
Bananas Egg Plant
Dragon Fruit Pineapple
Loofa/Lufa Rosella
Barabados cherry Galangal
Okra Mangoes
Starfruit Chilies
Tumeric Sweet potato
Chives Lemon grass
Spinach Mint

 

 

 

 


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