It’s surprising how much is happening in the winter garden. Flower buds take some time to open, but the resulting blooms last a long time. Leaves finish falling from deciduous trees and break down into natural compost. Winter bulbs start to flower and many natives are putting on their best show.

Take special care with plants that come from tropical or warm areas. If in pots they can be moved indoors or into a more sheltered spot – under the eaves or next to a wall would be good choices. In the garden, hammer three or four stakes around cold-sensitive plants. Then, when a really cold night is predicted, it will be easy to throw a protective blanket or sheet of plastic over the stakes (but don’t forget to take it off in the morning!).

Another option is to spray a layer of Yates DroughtShield over tender plants – this will help get them through the winter.

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Winter pruning

Long-flowering summer shrubs that are best pruned in winter include fuchsias, crepe myrtles and roses. Prune the hydrangea shoots that flowered last season. Prune tibouchinas that have finished flowering. This can be done in early winter in frost-free areas, but it’s best to wait until late winter in cooler parts. Prune deciduous fruit trees and grapes that weren’t cut back after fruiting. Trim natives as they finish flowering. Prune all the long-blooming roses and spray with Yates Lime Sulfur to clean up pests and diseases. Towards the end of winter give photinias, viburnums, murrayas and other hedging plants a trim.

Winter pest control

Many garden pests take shelter during winter, so this is the perfect time to seek out their hiding places and try to get rid of them. Otherwise, if left alone, they’ll make it through winter and start building up their numbers again in spring.

  • Loquat trees, which continue maturing their fruit right through winter, are renowned for maintaining the fruit fly population through the colder weather. Keep using Yates Nature’s Way Fruit Fly and check fruit regularly. Remove and destroy any infested fruit.
  • Clean up loose bark and other winter hiding places near apple and pear trees to destroy hibernating codling moth cocoons.
  • Deciduous fruit of all types should be given a clean up spray with Yates Lime Sulfur after leaf fall and again before the new leaves come out in spring. Or switch to Yates Liquid Copper for the spring (bud swell) spray.

Winter in the edible garden

  • Winter is the season for planting artichoke crowns, asparagus, rhubarb and shallots.
  • Winter lettuce, cabbages and relatives, onions, peas and broad beans are all growing well. Keep feeding them with Thrive and watch for pests. Most sap suckers (aphids etc.) can be controlled with non-toxic Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray. Caterpillars, a particular problem for the cabbage family, will need to be treated with Yates Success Ultra or Yates Nature’s Way Caterpillar Killer (Dipel).

Related products

Yates Lime Sulfur

Controls a range of fungal diseases and pests on fruit trees, tomatoes, grapes, roses & ornamentals. No withholding period.

Yates Liquid Copper

A broad-spectrum fungicide for control of a wide range of diseases on fruit, vegetables and ornamentals.

Yates Success Ultra

Success ULTRA helps keep your garden plants from being attacked by common caterpillars plus other insect pests.


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