Winter Gardening

Print this entry

In Australia, the winter months are June, July and August.

Never use any oils on your trees in winter as you will kill the tree. Apply Envy or equivalent to trees susceptible to frost. Spray for Bindi before August – use a herbicide or mix a cup of common salt with a cup of vinegar and apply with a paint brush or roller. Prune all deciduous trees and use for cuttings eg. grapes/figs/jujubes/mulberries – late winter is better as they come away much quicker. Bring the cuttings along for the raffle table and put a name tag on them. To prevent the formation of frost under frost sensitive trees, remove the mulch although Mary King has found that when they used dead wattle leaves, it did not attract the frost.  Rocks and stones also help to store the sun’s energy especially if covered with black plastic over the rocks. Remove after the last frost. If plants become frost-burned, don’t immediately cut off the affected parts as they give protection. Apply tree paste to trunk but not to green wood.

Peter Sauer uses a Potassium soap spray 3-4 times throughout the winter to control pests – this adds a significant amount of Potassium to the trees. If you’re using microbes on your fruit trees: flower emergence – spray foliar microbes 15mls/L with 2mls/L high calcium + 1ml/L Boron to enhance fruit set. Wait 21 days and repeat 2 more times. Spraying to be done to runoff of leaves.

Abiu 100 gms per sq. mtr Potassium Sulphate per tree.
Black Sapote Take grafting wood when it’s coming into its spring growth flush – usually 1st or 2nd week of Aug.
Citrus – June and August Fertilise with 1kg of Dynamic Lifter and a closed hand of Nitrophoska per sq. mtr plus Gypsum and occasionally Dolomite. If you’re on sandy soil, one dressing of Zinc Sulphate 30gms per sq. mtr will do the trick for 4 years or you could fertilise with a handful of Urea and a handful of Nitrophoska or equivalent per m2 around the dripline. (keep clear of the trunk). Remove galls on citrus before wasps emerge in August – slit stem to expose.   The Bronze Orange Citrus Bug appear in winter starting as pale green nymphs , their colour changes through orange to bronze as they grow to adults. They can be serious pests in some areas causing flower and fruit drop by sucking on the stalks. Wear goggles
Custard Apples Peak harvest period during May & June – keep the water up then low water requirements until flowering starts in October. After harvesting has finished (July/August) prune a third off all outer branches and any growth growing towards centre and strip leaves off.  Don’t prune too close to a bud – leave around 10mm. Keep the centre top part of your tree open so that sunlight can penetrate. Limbs should be 1mtr off the ground. pH should be around 6. Apply Dolomite to the soil –  20g/ m2 out to the drip line. Defoliate trees about one month before normal budbreak (about August/September in south-east Queensland). Leaves are removed so the buds will come away a lot more quickly, thereby producing an earlier crop. Cut away any deadwood and check for Pinks Disease which is easily identifiable where a whole branch will be dead and you’ll notice that the bark is all lifted and you’ll see pink spores on the branch. Cut away the branch to below the infection. Paint the branch with Copper.
Feijoa Start watering well to get the tree ready for flowering.    Apply 2 handfuls of Nitrophoska to mature trees.
Figs Prune 2/3rds off July / August. Bring cuttings to the Club meeting for the raffle table and tag them. Fruit produced on new seasons growth.
Granadilla Hand pollinate – use a different flower to the one you want to pollinate ie don’t use the same flower to pollinate itself. Use a soft chicken/bird feather or a light paint brush. Low water requirements during dormancy,
Grapes Prune June/July – bring prunings to the meeting for the raffle table. Label them. To propagate:  Cuttings to have 3 buds – place sand in hole with a bit of lime.
Lychee/Longan Apply a little fertilizer in June and, if dry, water to encourage bud activity; this will help flower formation.
Mangoes (same as for Lychees/Longans) Apply 1-2kgs Gypsum to mature trees which supplies Calcium to the tree. During flowering if the night temperature drops below 10ºC it kills the ovaries in the flower so you never get seed set and the fruit falls off when small – they are called Nubbins and cutting them open will show no seed present so snap off the flowers on half the tree (what you can reach easily) at the end of July to hedge your bets because if we have a warm winter, the primary flowering will set fruit and if we have a cold winter, the secondary flowering will set fruit. The fruit is prone to Anthracnose (a fungus) and Bacterial Spot (fruit spotting, bacterium). To reduce the risk, prune to allow air and sunshine into the tree after fruiting and give supplementary potash during late winter. To prevent disease, spray a copper-based fungicide alternating with sprays of Mancozeb fungicide. During flowering only spray Mancozeb. In WA there is a recommendation for using Ecocarb (Potassium bicarbonate) as an organic disease spray on mangoes. For good canopy management and tree nutrition and soil management Kasper says “You should be able to see the sky through the pruned tree canopy”.
Olives Fertilize with 500g Dolomite 300g Lime and spray with Boron – likes a high pH so use calcium.
Passionfruit Fertilise mature vines monthly with Fish & Seaweed Foliar Sprays and for vines nearing the end of cropping also apply 20gms each of Gypsum and Dolomite per m2 out to a diameter of 2 metres.
Pawpaw Minimal watering. Apply Dolomite – 50g/ m2. Half a teaspoon of Borax per plant/ m2 once a year. Spray with Wettable Sulphur if Powdery Mildew. Foliar fertilise with Fish & Seaweed Emulsion. Use Copper based spray if Black Spot is about.
Pepino Prune to 5-7cm above ground and then fertilise well.
Persimmon Minimal watering. Prune one-third off old wood in July. Fertilize with 1kg of Dolomite for a mature tree.
Phalsa It will not bear the way it should bear unless pruned to 1 meter every year during winter.
Pineapple If not flowering June/July, put a piece of ice on them.
Pitaya Prune after fruiting has finished if it is too top heavy. They only fruit on new wood.
Pomegranate Propagation:  Take pencil thick cuttings in winter about 25cm long from 1 year old wood, dig a trench, put river sand in the bottom then put in the cuttings and back fill just leaving them with 2 buds above the ground. They are ready to plant out into a sunny spot about a year later and take one to three years to bear fruit.
Raspberries Need cutting low to the ground each winter. An easy way is to mow over them. If you hand prune, do bring the cuttings along to the club meeting for the raffle table. Members find they are easier to manage when they are trellised. They will re-shoot in spring. You get big berries on new wood.
Star Apple Thin out fruit.
Stone Fruit Late July, prune unwanted laterals, water shoots and some of the fruiting wood to open up the tree.
Strawberries Fertilise weekly with Fish and Seaweed sprays to prevent fruit rot and mulch well so berries don’t lie on the soil. Try not to overhead water so as to prevent fruit rot.
Vanilla Hand pollinate the female flowers with a toothpick.

Authored by: 

Sheryl Backhouse from various sources and checked with other members

Sourced from: 

STFC Newsletter June – July 2006

Date sourced: