Soil is where plants take root. Good soil, means good plants with vibrant flowers, lush foliage and tasty produce. Vigorous plants are also more resistant to pest and disease problems.
Just how good your soil is depends on its natural qualities along with external factors such as climate and weather events including wind, rain, heat, cold.
What’s going on within the soil is also important and affects how plants grow. Good microbial and worm activity in soils can help improve soils and make them better for plant growth. As well, how we treat the soil, what we add to it and how we care for it, also affect how good it is and how well plants grow. Follow our seasonal soil care tips to keep your soil in tip-top condition so your garden and lawn looks good all year round. Read ‘Understanding soils’ for more information on soil.
Autumn Soil Care
This season is all about soil rejuvenation and revitalisation after the stresses of a long hot summer. As temperatures start to fall and days get shorter, soil temperature too starts to fall. Autumn is the perfect time for planting as plants don’t come under stress. In early autumn improve soil for planting by following these steps:
- Weed thoroughly as weeds compete with plants for water and nutrients.
- Dig the soil over to at least a spade’s depth to help aerate the soil, improving air and water penetration. Work in compost or aged manure.
- Use a no-dig method (as an alternative to digging) by adding manure, homemade or bought bagged compost such as Seasol Super Compost and mulch to the soil surface and letting soil organisms do the work. Garden soil is full of organisms such as worms, microbes, bacteria and fungi. These critters make nutrients available to plants and bind soil particles together to improve its structure, making it lose and fluffy. The population size and activity of these organisms depends on the existing structure of the soil.
- If you want an easy to use no-dig option, give the soil a good dose of Seasol Liquid Compost.
- If the soil is not absorbing water (that is, it is hydrophobic), apply a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter and Conditioner to help water soak deep into soil where it is available to plant roots. Be sure to wash it off the plant’s foliage if it’s applied to planted areas.
Apply mulch to the soil after planting or top up existing garden beds. Organic mulches protect soil from heat and heavy rain and also can add nutrients as they break down. Mulch keeps soil and roots cool or warm depending on climatic conditions. It also can help to prevent water evaporation, retain soil moisture and deter weed germination.
Winter soil care
For many parts of southern and inland Australia winter soil care is all about protecting soil from cold and frost. Winter is the planting time for bare-rooted plants such as fruit trees and shrubs, roses and herbaceous perennials. Follow our easy ‘Autumn