Seasonal notes from Alex
Wait until flowering has just finished, then; identify the new buds which are swelling. That will be the new growth. Prune back longer, thicker branches to one of the new buds to maintain the overall shape of your tree. Sometimes it does involve cutting back hard.
Be careful; do not cut back hard on the branches that are weak and thin. Let them grow until they have thickened and their size is in balance with the main trunk and first branch.
At this time of the year keep your conifers in shape by pinching out the tips of their branches as this will slow down their elongation. Prune back or remove new shoots that are growing out of proportion to the rest of the tree. You can also remove any obvious downward pointing branches. When doing this always keep in mind of the outline of the tree.
If unsure ask your teacher how to pinch back.
The growth of the tree is at its most vigorous this time of year so you need to keep an eye on them everyday.
Remember 60 per cent of the growth is in the first 3 weeks.
To keep the new growth compact and full; pinch out or cut back any new growth when it has three or more new leaves , to leave just one pair of new buds at the base of each branch.
As the growth of these trees is quite robust at this time of year. It is also a good opportunity to balance the growth of their branches. Do this by leaving the weaker branches alone to catch up and by pinching or cutting back the stronger branches.
Azaleas and Wisterias
Remove any spent flowers and start fertilising the tree. The warmer weather and fertiliser will stimulate the sap to flow through its branches. A week or so later, start pruning and wiring as the branches will be flexible enough to bend.
As we know one of the major problems in working with these is the ease with which their branches will crack and break. So another way at this time of year to increase the branches flexibility is to allow the tree to dry out slightly. Water makes the plant cells turgid and crisp but it can make the branches stiff and rigid and therefore difficult to bend.
Keep any new wire on until early to mid- summer. However check occasionally to make sure the wire hasn’t cut into the bark, if it is has so remove immediately. This is pertinent to younger trees.
The weather will have warmed up enough by September to safely start working on and re-potting your Figs and other natives such as Callistemons sp, Banksias sp, Baekeas sp and Lilly pillys.
With fertiliser, at the beginning of spring I wait until the deciduous trees have started to send out new shoots before I begin. I also avoid fertilising any flowering tree until it has finished flowering as way too much fertiliser too early will cause the flowers to drop prematurely.
I use a combination of seaweed concentrate and nitrogen high Fertiliser. I use Amino-gro; Nitrosol; Harvest. I dilute these by half and give to my trees every two to three weeks.
I also use GOGO juice for variety and sometimes alternate between the two for trees that I have just re-potted to reduce transplant shock. GOGO juice is a soil probiotic. It enhances the communication between the soil and the roots. You can continue your nitrogen based fertiliser regime.as per normal. However I do not use your seaweed based conditioners if you have already applied GOGO juice. I also use this product at half strength. This helps the tree produce a stronger root system.
When watering keep in mind the variation in weather. You will have windy days and cool nights still. Sometimes you can have over 30 degree temperatures with hot winds for days on end. It is a dangerous time and the trees want to grow at the same time. Keep up with the daily monitoring both day and night for soil dryness as some trees will dry out faster than others.
If you have just re-potted your trees keep it in a cool position for a two weeks and then you can put it into a sunnier position.
If you are not sure, water the tree as it could be possible that the trees roots is drying out underneath.