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Get Transplanting – Sue McDougall

Traditionally our wettest month, July is a time of celebration for gardeners.  They know the more rain that falls now, the better the gardens will be in spring.

July is referred to as transplant month. All those plants that are in the wrong place have the best chance of survival if moved in July. The trick to successful transplanting is to reduce root disturbance as much as possible. Start digging further from the main trunk than originally intended. Find out where the roots are and then bring them into a more manageable size. If the plant is to be moved to a different garden and is being transported via an open trailer, lay the plant down and cover both the root ball and the foliage to minimise wind damage. When replanting, place the plant into a hole that has  had soil improver added and water in well with Seasol. This will encourage new roots to develop. Large plants will require staking until the root system establishes itself again. Call into your local Better Pets and Gardens store to pick up soil improver and Seasol.

Divide rhubarb crowns through the colder months. These easy-to-grow perennials require deep, well improved soil if growing in the ground and premium potting mix in a large pot. As well as being an ornamental plant, rhubarb are incredibly versatile.  The leaves on the plant are poisonous and should never be eaten or given to poultry but they are great for making a bug spray to kill soft body insects such as aphids.

Prune roses throughout this month. In colder areas such as the hills it’s best to leave this job until late July so tender new shoots are not damaged by frosty mornings.

For certain varieties of fruiting trees to set fruit, chilling hours are required. Chilling hours are those hours under 5°C. The colder it is the better that the high chilling varieties of fruit trees set. For the home gardener in warmer areas remember to ask for low chill fruit varieties; that way if it’s a mild winter in the future there is a higher chance of fruit setting.  Spray fruit trees with leaf curl spray or liquid copper to reduce fungal problems in apricots and peach leaf curl in nectarines and peaches. The ideal time to spray is when the weather is forecast to be fine for a few days. It’s not a hard job and it’s worth it for tasty home grown fruit.

Lawns tend to yellow a little through winter. There are lawn fertilisers formulated for winter application, which contain iron to help green up the lawn. The trick to having a green lawn in winter is to get it growing strong and healthy in autumn.  Avoid fertilising now, control weeds instead. Broad leaves are growing very quickly and are easy to control when small.

Selective broad leaf sprays are available to control weeds, but not affect the lawn. For buffalo lawn varieties select those sprays with the active ingredient bromoxynil which is safe for buffalo. Confused about what to spray? Call into your local store and talk to our team or download the fact sheet from our website called ‘Maintaining Lawns’.

Fruit fly are still active through winter and there are many sweet citrus fruits that are targeted by this destructive pest. Control them by using splash baits over the foliage, homemade traps or lure traps and picking up any fallen fruit.  Place fallen fruit in a plastic bag, seal it and put in the sun for a few days to solarise them. This will destroy larvae and reduce adult numbers. Compost and manure can be spread around fruit trees to allow the rain to wash it in. Keep it away from the trunks of trees to avoid fungal problems such as collar rot.


Written by Sue McDougall, a qualified horticulturalist and experienced garden centre owner who grew up in the WA wheatbelt and has had experience in gardening throughout the entire state.  You may know Sue as the garden expert on 6PR radio and by her many TV appearances.


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