Look out for the change of seasons this month.

June heralds the start of winter but in most areas, autumn flowers and autumn leaves continue to bring colour to gardens.

Winter also sees the first bulbs bloom, and it’s time to buy and plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs including roses and fruit trees.

Enjoy fresh citrus straight from the tree

Just when we need a shot of vitamin C to fend off winter colds, the backyard citrus trees deliver. Citrus including grapefruit, oranges and lemons ripen from autumn to spring and can be harvested as needed.

If you don’t already have a citrus tree, now is also a good time to look for potted trees at hardware and garden centres. If you only have a tiny space consider a dwarf variety for a large container such as a half wine barrel.

For a healthy plant and a bountiful crop, choose a sheltered but sunny spot with well-drained soil. Keep plants well-watered and encourage them to settle in with regular applications of Seasol every two weeks for strong root growth and to help reduce stress from cold and frost.

Feed all citrus in the ground throughout the seasons with Seasol plus Nutrients Fruit & Citrus to boost growth, flowering and fruiting. For potted plants, try an easy application of liquid PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Fruit & Citrus for tasty, juicy fruit.

What to do in your garden in early winter in June 2024 to harvest citrus and prepare for the cooler season
What to do in your garden in early winter in June 2024 to harvest citrus and prepare for the cooler season

Winter vegie planting

Although it’s winter and growth is slower than at warmer times of the year, it can be a very rewarding time to plant and grow vegetables. Select vegies that you love to eat. In warmer regions, try tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, and chillies. In cooler regions, try broccoli, kale, onions, peas, and salad greens.

Generally, in cooler regions, plants are under less stress when the weather is cool and there are fewer pest and disease problems (although there are still snails, slugs and cabbage white butterflies to contend with).

For a delicious but easy winter feast, try growing repeat harvest crops such as English spinach and snow peas. Start with seeds or seedlings and apply Seasol when planting to aid plant establishment and strong root growth.

Keep plants growing strong with regular weekly doses of a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables. Check out our complete vegie guides for more information.

Winter spray time

While plants are dormant it is a good time to give them a preventative spray with copper or lime-based fungicide such as lime sulfur to help prevent diseases such as leaf curl which affects peaches, nectarines and almonds.

The winter spray is done to control fungal diseases that affect leaves, flowers and fruit (on fruiting plants). It will also help get rid of scale infestations.

Pick up any mummified fruit and prune away any diseased or broken branches before spraying. Follow the instructions on the container and repeat the spray if recommended. A lime spray is suggested for roses. Apply after pruning and before new growth appears.

When spraying the tree it’s also a good time to check the soil beneath it. Remove weeds and apply Seasol Plant + Soil Booster to rejuvenate soil health, moisture and nutrient retention. Once applied, water it in thoroughly and replenish mulch as needed.

What to do in your garden in early winter in June 2024 to harvest citrus and prepare for the cooler season
What to do in your garden in early winter in June 2024 to harvest citrus and prepare for the cooler season

Nectar for birds

Winter can be a lean time for nectar-feeding birds but gardens can come to the rescue with winter-flowering plants including banksias, grevilleas, camellias and the amazing red hot poker.

Winter-flowering red-hot pokers (Kniphofia spp.) are also out. The winter surprise here are the birds that visit seeking nectar. One of the best for a splash of red in winter and a food source for birds is ‘Winter Cheer’. Look for potted plants in flower at hardware and garden centres.

Check out the tall clump of yellow kniphofias in neighbours gardens that flower in winter with a bold splash of colour.  They start off standing proud and tall with large heads of bright yellow flowers but end up bowed down but the constant visits of nectar-feeding birds including wattlebirds.

Keep kniphofias and all native plants, flowering throughout the season with regular applications of PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives applied to the soil.

Five important jobs for early winter

  1. Move houseplants onto a sunny windowsill over the winter, to get as much light as possible during the shorter days and liquid feed with PowerFeed Indoor & Potted Plants.
  2. Keep an eye out for caterpillars on brassicas such as cabbages or cauliflowers as they love to eat juicy foliage. Regular inspections and removal as well as netting helps keep these pests at bay.
  3. Take hardwood cuttings from hydrangeas, roses and other deciduous plants. Planting into Seasol Seed Raising and Cutting Potting Mix and keep the potting mix moist but not wet.
  4. Protect frost-tender plants with covers when nights are cold and clear. Remember to remove them in the morning.
  5. Clean garden shed and clean and sharpen secateurs and pruning tool for winter pruning.

Consider planting a bare-rooted plant

Bare-rooted trees and shrubs are sold through winter while plants are dormant. Buying now from hardware and garden centres usually means plant are cheaper than later in the year when they’ve been potted, and there’s also a great selection of varieties. Plus they have the add advantage of establishing over winter, ready to burst into spring growth

Keep an eye out for:

  • Stunning ornamental foliage trees such as Japanese maples, silver birch or claret ash to keep the house shaded in summer and light in, over winter
  • Beautiful flowering trees to add colour in spring and summer including cherry blossom (flowering cherry, or plum), crepe myrtle, or crab apple.
  • Tasty fruit and nut trees such as apricot, apples, peach, hazelnut or almonds.
  • Shrubs including bush and climbing roses and hedging plants such as box hedge in different varieties ( English, Japanese or Korean).
What to do in your garden in early winter in June 2024 to harvest citrus and prepare for the cooler season
What to do in your garden in early winter in June 2024 to harvest citrus and prepare for the cooler season

How to plant bare-rooted trees and shrubs

Keep the root system protected before plants go in the ground. To give them a head start, soak the plant in a bucket of water and Seasol (40mL per 9 litres of water) while the planting hole is prepared.

To plant a bare-rooted plant, dig a hole that’s a little deeper than the root ball and a lot wider. Make a mound of earth in the base of the hole and sit the root system over the mound. This ensures that the plant is planted at the same depth in the garden as it was in the field and that roots are in contact with soil.

Before planting, check the roots and trim any that are damaged or broken. If garden soil is poor, mix the soil dug out of the hole with well-rotted compost and/or Seasol Super Compost before returning the soil to planting hole and firming it around the root ball. Make sure there are no air pockets by thoroughly watering (use the bucket of water and Seasol that held the plant) and firming the plant into its new home.

Tall or exposed plants may need a stake to give extra support. Put the stake next to the plant at planting. Mulch around the base of plant to deter weeds and if there are pests such as rabbits, but a guard around the trunk.