December-What you should be doing in your Top End garden this month

Monday, December 18, 2017 | Regina Downes | Comments (0)


Weed, Weed and weed some more! Its December already and the weeds are growing as tho they are on some kind of super drug! Staying on top of your garden weeds is very important this time of year.



There is still plenty of time to plant trees, they will get a good 6 months of fast growing weather and get well established before the dry season arrives and slows down their growth.


-Where possible avoid pruning any of your larger trees until the dry season. (Any large woody open wounds can act as a entry point for fungal infections this wet season)

-Any newly planted trees stem/trunks that are soft to the touch and not looking so flash ensure they are not getting TOO much water. (happens usually with newly planted Frangipani trees this time of the year) -if this happens move to a new location or check to see they are not planted too deep in the ground and sitting in water.


Shrubs                                                                                                                                                                                 December is the perfect time to do any propagation in your garden. Only propagate cuttings from healthy plants.

-Also this time of year all our tropical shrubs are doing there thing and growing at a fast pace and are loving the high humidity (glad some one is!). As the shrubs are growing rapidly so are invasive weed species, some invasive weed species grow over and cover (suffocate) your shrubs and in some instances end up killing them, as both the invasive weed species and host plant are both competing for nutrients, light and space.
Try if you can physically removing as much of the invasive weed as possible and if that does not do the job and it keeps growing back, you may need to use other methods such as chemical means.
(Online Plants NT recommend always reading the instructions before using any chemical in your garden)


Below are some of the more common invasive strangler weeds, remove as soon as you identify them in your garden.

                                                                 Coral vine ( Antigonon leptopus)

Grows by producing underground tubers, fast spreading. Spread also by birds and bats.It also seeds freely and will spread with the aid of birds. Recognisable by its heart shaped leaves and purple flowers. Can grow up to 15m



                                                                  Rangoon creeper (Quisqualis indica)

Flowers all year round. Recognizable by its white/pink/red flower heads and woody stems.

Fast growing and takes over.  Can be grown in a backyard garden as a beautiful flowering shrub, BUT be mindful it has a tendency to take cover.


                                                           Wild passion fruit (Passiflora foetida)

 A climbing or scrambling vine with sticky hairs over most of the plant.Produces a green fruit , when it turns yellow is can be eaten, has the distinct passion fruit flower.




Its the wet season and its once again time to remind Top End gardeners of the dreadedMelioidosis disease. Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, found in the soil and in water right here in Northern Australia. It also locally referred to as Nightcliff gardeners disease. It can be fatal. Its one of those important diseases that every Top End gardener needs to know about and needs to know the signs of infection. Early detection is the key to treating this disease as if left untreated or un-diagnosed can be fatal. This time of year its always advisable to wear enclosed foot wear when working out in the garden and to cover any open wounds or cuts on your body




The Edible Patch                                                                                                                                                                   If you are still keen to work in your fruit/veggie/herb patch here are few edible plants that you can grow now and will continue to grow through our wet season.

Paw Paw
Dragon Fruit
Barabados cherry
Purple Basil
Mulberries white and black
Egyptian spinach
Sweet Leaf
Snake beans







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