As the weather cools down across the country its important to remember there is an incredible amount of natural healing taking place in fire ravaged environments. By natural healing I am referring to the new growth appearing from plants that look destroyed a few months ago. Life in the garden is resilient and while it may take longer to rebuild structures there are a few things we can do for the garden over the next few weeks:
- Trees play an important part of the natural landscape. Dead trees are just as important for the local ecosystem. While its not practical to keep every dead tree, don’t remove everyone. These trees are form natural hollows and habitats for the native animals. They are also home and breeding ground to local fungi species and organisms.
- Depending upon the temperatures endured by the garden when the fire front passed, will depend how dead the soil is. Dead soil is powdery and water repellent and does not contain the natural biota that is so important for plant growth. Any organic matter applied back onto the garden areas will only improve this over time. Applications of Seasol will help the soil recover quickly.
- Wetting agents are an important part of soil rehabilitation and Seasol Super soil wetter and conditioner should be within arms reach at all times when in the garden. This product will not only condition the soil but will assist in water penetration after soils have experienced extreme soil temperatures.
- Assess plants that have started to grow, is the bark peeling and damaged to more than 75% of the plant. Be honest with the assessment. While some plants will shoot away again after fire damage their shape will never recover. These plants may have to be removed and replanted with the same variety or an alternative.
- Grafted fruit trees will shoot readily from the root stock. If there is no growth above the graft, its time to remove and replant with a new tree. This includes grafted citrus. Dwarf citrus varieties that are not grafted can be trimmed back to ground level and if there are signs of life will return to production over time.
- Composting mulches are an important part of a recovering garden. These mulches will feed the soil as they break. The focus through autumn and winter is on the soil. Building up the health of the soil is one of the most important aspects of rebuilding fire ravaged gardens.