Autumn is a great time to plant almost anything, from tiny seedlings to large trees. It’s also an ideal time to choose plants for their autumn foliage colours. Soil temperatures are still warm enough to encourage root growth, and milder temperatures reduce water stress. Young plants planted into gardens in autumn have a good chance to settle in well, making optimum growth under and above ground before they have to cope with summers’ heat. Often spring arrives with a blast of early high temperatures, which stresses young plants if their roots are not well established.

Flowers, Trees & Shrubs

In temperate and cool zones autumn growth can be quite phenomenal, especially if mild temperatures are accompanied by good autumn rains. Roots become well established and foliage grows and hardens off before winter – stronger plants are more able to cope with extremes of temperature and dryness. Milder temperatures are kinder on gardeners too, after all…holes won’t dig themselves!

Prepare Planting Holes

Whether you are moving plants, getting ready for the arrival of winter roses or deciduous trees and fruits, or taking advantage of the milder weather to plant a new garden, soil preparation is the key to success. Prior to planting, improve your site soil by adding organics, such as a good sprinkling of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food and dig it all in well.

Transplanting Trees & Shrubs

During the cooler months from May to August it’s an ideal time to transplant trees, shrubs and perennial plants. The plants suffer less water loss and transplant shock is minimised as growth slows over autumn and winter. Many evergreens and most deciduous plants can be moved with a reasonably good chance of success providing it’s done carefully, and at the right time of year. The exception is most native plants which dislike root disturbance, and respond by turning up their toes!

Use a sharp spade to dig around and then under to sever the roots. Try to take a sizeable root ball, including soil, so there are plenty of feeder roots still attached. Use heavy builder’s plastic or shade-cloth to slide the plant out of its old position and into the new. Prepare the new planting hole by mixing in a few handfuls of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food to help enrich and improve the soil. Water the plant well and keep the soil moist especially as new shoots appear. Yates Waterwise Droughtshield sprayed thoroughly over the foliage prior to transplanting can help reduce water loss and transplant shock, increasing the survival rate of newly transplanted plants.

Flower Of The Month

Cheery Chrysanthemums are a classic Mother’s Day flower, and a symbol of happiness and longevity in Japan. Potted ‘mums are a great gift, whilst garden chrysanthemums fill beds with colourful blooms. Indoors, choose a well lit position for potted Chrysanthemum and water every few days, but don’t leave them standing in saucers of water. Liquid feed using Yates Thrive Flower and Fruit Soluble Fertiliser every two weeks, then after 4-6 weeks, as the display finishes, trim back spent stems at the base, then plant outside in a sunny position with well drained soil. Water well though summer, tip prune for compact bushy growth and liquid feed every 4-6 weeks and enjoy the show again next autumn.

Hydrangea flowers (pictured) the drying heads of hydrangea flowers are an autumn reminder to begin monthly applications of Yates Hydrangea Blueing Liquid or Pinking Liquid if you want to alter or intensify the flower colours in summer. Dry flower heads can remain on the plants until winter, or pruned back to just above two fat leaf buds.

Winter & Spring Flowers

Sow seeds of delightful winter and spring flowers to brighten up the garden. Many flowers can be sown directly where you want them to grow in the garden, including hardy and versatile sweet ‘Carpet of Snow’, pretty blue Forget me not ‘Little Bluebird’, and Everlasting Daisy ‘Mixed Hybrids’ or Iceland Poppy – which are also great for picking. For best results barely cover the small seeds with a fine layer of Yates Seed Raising Mix and keep moist.

May is still a good month for sowing peas, so pop in some Sweet Peas like Blue Reflection in spring they produce a bounty of scented blooms for picking. It’s not too late to sow pretty Yates Pansy Giant Supreme or Yates Viola Toyland in seed trays ready for planting out once seedlings have germinated. Add some colourful Calendula ‘Pacific Beauty’ to the vegie patch where their bright yellow and orange flowers add winter and spring colour, and also attract bees and other beneficial insects.

Snails and slugs can come out of hiding in autumn and devour precious young seedlings over night. Protect plants using Yates Blitzem Snail and Slug pellets, which attract and kill snails and slugs. Begin liquid feeding every two to three weeks after seeds have germinated using Yates Thrive Flower and Fruit Soluble Fertiliser, which encourages healthy leaf growth and lots of beautiful flowers.

Potted Citrus

Citrus are handsome ornamental trees – with glossy green foliage, scented white blossoms and colourful fruit – a fabulous choice to display in large pots. Here are our top tips for keeping potted citrus trees healthy and productive.

  • Choose a spot which gets plenty of sun – 6 hours daily.
  • Pot size: 400mm to 500mm sized pots are ideal. Select decorative plastic, timber half barrels, cement or stone pots and ensure there’s plenty of drainage holes in the base and fill with premium quality potting mix.
  • Regular watering of potted citrus is important. Over time potting mix looses the ability to absorb water, evident when water applied runs straight off the surface of the mix, pouring down the inside walls of the pot, leaving the soil and root ball dry. An application of Yates Waterwise Soil Wetter is beneficial, containing a combination of fast acting wetting agents and soil conditioners that improve moisture penetration of water repellant soils. It’s convenient to use and easy to apply – just add to a watering can and water in over the potting mix.
  • Little and often is the key to feeding potted citrus, so liquid fertiliser is the ideal way to deliver nutrients regularly. Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food is a complete food, containing a balance of nutrients for healthy green foliage and juicy more abundant fruit. The liquid is taken up by both the roots and the foliage so you see results sooner.
  • Potting citrus will restrict their growth, but there are dwarf citrus available – grafted onto Flying Dragon root – stock which naturally controls the plant size, without compromising fruit size or quantity. Labeled Dwarf, Pipsqueak or compact – they’re in plentiful supply during autumn and winter. They do well in sunny well drained gardens too!

Kaffir Lime is a delightful citrus tree to grow in a pot. It’s grown primarily for its highly aromatic leaves – just one or two added to your curry or stir fry brings an authentic Asian flavour to home cooked meals. Regular feeding with Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Foodencourages soft new growth. The hard green knobby fruits are great for zesting, but filled with seeds so if you like lime juice, grow a delicious Tahitian Lime as well.

Scale Insects – check citrus trees for scale insects. They are small dome shaped structures noticed on stems, leaves and fruit. Colours and types of scale insects vary – white, red, brown and pink, and can appear smooth or even like cotton wool. A waxy or hard coating develops on adult scale insects and they rarely move. Sooty mould and ants are commonly seen with scale infestations. Control scale insects by spraying with ready to use Yates Scale Gun, which contains a combination of low toxic pyrethrum and white oil to smother and kill the scale insects.


This information is from the Yates Garden Guide: fully revised & updated 44th edition, HarperCollins, $39.99. You can have this information and so much more at your fingertips by purchasing the Yates Garden Guide, available at all leading bookstores and Bunnings stores.

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