Autumn chores for Designer Trees look a lot like end-of-season chores anywhere in the world, in South New Wales, which is located on the southern side of Australia, can get rather chilly in some areas. February is the tag end of summer, so if you are from the northern hemisphere, think about August or September for comparable weather and temperatures. Harvesting, bringing in container plants and clearing up fallen leaves and twig debris are all familiar autumn chores to gardeners anywhere.
Harvesting Designer Trees
- Avocados: Avocados are essentially tropical or subtropical trees. In the appropriate climate, they can be active the year around. In cooler areas (and depending on the type) they drop their leaves in dry or cold conditions and have one or two active times. March and April could be good times to harvest avocados, depending on your location and growing conditions.
- Finger Limes: March is the season for harvesting the first fruits from Australian Native Finger Limes. These delectable citrus fruits are about the length and circumference of a man’s finger. When broken open, they seem to be filled with tiny pearls. These tangy globules can be used in drinks or salads.
- Mangos: March is the end of the mango season, but you might be able to still pick a few of these delicious fruits. Mangos like warm, tropical, or semi-tropical areas and might need protection from wind or early frosts.
Bring in Container Plants and Protect Tender Perennials:
If winter temperatures drop below freezing, you might want to bring in container plants. Mangos, Avocados and even finger limes can be container grown. It is a good idea to place large containers on a wheeled dolly to make them easy to move. Some plants can be left out-of-doors, but need to be protected when severe frosts are anticipated. Keep old quilts, blankets, or other insulating material on hand so you don’t have to make an emergency trip to your local hardware or department store.
- Avocado: Trim the upward growth of young avocado trees to encourage wide, bushy growth. As they mature, they only need trimming to remove dead limbs and twigs or to maintain an easy height for harvesting.
- Finger Limes: Wait until after the last of the fruit is harvested. Then remove any dead limbs or twigs.
- Mango: Late March or early April might be a good time to prune Mango trees. They don’t actually require pruning, but some judicious cutting can let air and light into central areas of the tree and keep them from growing too tall for easy harvest.
- Avocado: Cuttings are the best way to propagate your next avocado trees. Although avocados can be grown from seed, it isn’t the fastest way. They don’t always breed true, and it takes up to ten years before they bear fruit. Cuttings can be grafted onto the appropriate rootstock, or aerial layering can be used. Growing from cuttings is challenging.
- Finger Limes: Cuttings are a great way to propagate your next generation of finger limes. While they have a low success rate on their own, they can be grafted onto almost any citrus rootstock.
- Mango: If you prune your mangos, convert those twigs into new plants. Dip the ends in a rooting medium, place them in water, and wait for the magic to happen.
Check for Pests and Diseases:
Although you’ve probably been on the lookout for these throughout the gardening season, autumn is a good time to look for eggs, signs of burrowing, discoloured bark, and other signs of pests or disease.
Clean up Debris:
Some plants respond well to mulching, but most trees need mulch to be kept away from their lower bark. Fertilizing mulch can be spread under a tree’s drip line so its slow decay can act as a fertilizer. If you’ve had a problem with egg-laying bugs or borers, you might want to burn your autumn debris. That might sound like a waste of good compost, but keep in mind that ashes can also add nutrients to a soil mix.
Plan for next year:
With the obscuring foliage thinned and fruit picked, it is a good time to give your garden, orchard, or other growing area a walk-through. Are the paths easy to negotiate? Do some of your plantings need more (or less) sun? Which beds or trees were the most successful? Take pictures and make notes. These can inform your spring garden activities