Winter spraying

If you are not keen on spraying but really need to for obtaining good crops on fruiting plants then choose to do winter sprays. This will clean up overwintering pests and diseases and reduce the need for spraying later in the season when fruit is on the trees. Winter sprays on roses will improve spring growth and subsequent flowering.

Lime Sulphur

Very useful in Whanganui to help induce dormancy on deciduous fruits and plants particularly roses. By doing so the plant has a proper rest period & will reward with better blooming in the coming season. Lime sulphur will also remove lichen from plants as well as controlling insects including scale insects & mites. It provides a protective film of sulphur over buds to prevent the entry of fungus into plants and trees. (Note lime sulphur is not suitable for apricots)

Grosafe Enspray 99

An spraying oil for control of scale, mites and mealy bug on fruit trees, grapes, roses and other ornamentals. Applying during the dormant period reduces the pest incidence during the coming season.

Grosafe Freeflo Copper

Freeflo copper protects against fungal diseases including blackspot, downy mildew & curly leaf (peaches & nectarines). Grosafe Freeflo copper is as improvement on other powder & liquid types of copper giving a far more complete coverage and stronger fungal protection

For ease of application mix Grosafe Enspray 99 & Grosafe Freeflo Copper together.

Months: May, June, July, August

Time to plant Dahlia, Lily, and Gladioli

Dahlia tubers, Lily bulbs, and Gladioli should be planted out now in sunny sheltered positions. As for most bulbs, corms and tubers the soil should be well cultivated mixed with compost. Use ‘Tui Bulb Food’ which contains a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with extra calcium to stimulate maximum flowering and healthy plant growth.

Months: August, September

Sprout Seed Potatoes

Time to purchase and start sprouting seed potatoes. It is important to purchase ‘certified seed potatoes.’ This means that the seed has been assessed by an authority called ‘Potatoes NZ’. This certification is to ensure the seed is free from viruses which can significantly reduce the yield.

To speed sprouting, place them in a warm well lit situation inside.

When it is time to plant work in plenty of compost and the recommended amount of potato fertiliser.

Potatoes when planted at this time of year should be planted fairly shallow, no more than a spade blade depth; make a shallow furrow and plant them about 30cm apart, with rows about 75cm apart. Just cover with soil and as the sprouts grow through the ground mound up the soil over them. Spread more potato fertiliser along the mound surface each time. Mounding will help protect young growth from frosts. Ensure that exposed tops are covered also on evenings that may be frosty. Once the mound is of sufficient height then you may need to use frost cloth to protect your plants from late winter frosts.

For more information regarding growing potatoes click here.

Months: July, August, September

Spray Roses

To protect new growth spray roses with ‘Gro Safe Free Flo Copper’ spray, mix with ‘Grow Safe En Spray 99’ (spraying oil) using the summer rate to protect against pests & diseases. Both are biogro certified organic and both are rated highly as friendly to bees.

Months: August, September

Spray for Brown Rot and Curly Leaf

Time to spray for protection against brown rot that destroys peaches, nectarines and sometimes apricots and plums, just as they ripen. Many come looking for a remedy each year when their fruit is rotting – the only fix for this is preventative spraying soon.

Put on 3 sprays about 10 days apart – the first one when the flower buds are closed and pink, the second in full bloom, and the third at 90% petal fall and once at Shuck fall. Yates Fungus Fighter is currently the product that provides best control for brown rot. Do not add an insecticide in the first two sprays (because bees are active), however on the third spray at petal fall add Yates Mavrik (a bee safe insecticide) which will eliminate any likely insect pests.

With this protection you should be able to get right through the season with no more spraying and no brown rot. This spraying regime will also help with Curly Leaf.

Months: August, September

Sow Summer Flower Seeds

Make sowings in trays inside undercover of summer flowering annuals for planting out in the Spring. Flower seeds to sow undercover include; alyssum, begonia, candy tuft, carnation, celosia, cosmos, cornflower, dianthus, delphinium, forget-me-not, larkspur, linaria, linum, lobelia, lupin, marigold, nemesia, pansy, petunia, phlox, poppies, portulaca, salvia, snapdragon, statice, stock, sweet peas, sweet william, violas and zinnias.

Months: July, August

Slugs and Snails

Be on guard and protect plants against slugs and snails which can cause severe damage to young seedlings & other plants.

Protect seedlings from slugs and snails with ‘quash’ (pet friendly), ‘baysol’ (rainproof) or ‘blitzem’ (fast acting), slug and snail bait.

Months: August, September, October, November, December

Shrubs to Plant

Shrubs coming into bloom including:

  • lily of the valley shrub (pieris)
  • ericas
  • grevilleas
  • leucadendrons
  • proteas
  • boronia
  • osmanthus pearly gates
  • daphne
Months: August

Protect plants/cloche

Keep an eye on the weather, be prepared to protect young plants with temporary covers (like a cloche) from unseasonable cold or hail storm, strong and cold wind or torrential rain which can strike at any time.

The use of a cloche to cover out newly planted seedlings will greatly increase the growth rate at this time of year.

Months: May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Prepare for Summer Planting

Summer growing vegetable seeds to sow inside, undercover, in a warm heated area in the coming weeks include; basil, tomato, capsicum, chilli, coriander, chives, cucumber, broccoli, eggplant, gherkin, melon, pumpkin, squash, watermelon, zucchini, spinach, peas & more. Use ‘Tui Seed Raising Mix’ for good results.

If sown in trays the seedlings can be pricked out into individual pots approximately 14 days following germination. We recommend biodegradable jiffy pots as these can later be planted directly into the garden with zero root disturbance. Grow until the plants are of good size and overnight temperatures are above 10 degrees before planting into the garden.

Months: July, August, September

Plant for Spring Harvest

Plant seedlings into the vegetable garden that will give a spring harvest. Plantings now can include; cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, rocket, celery, parsley, pak choi, spring onions, silverbeet, peas, spinach, brown & red onions and lettuce varieties in protected spots.

Sow outside direct where they are to grow; carrot, leeks, broad bean & beetroot seeds.

Months: July, August

Pip Fruit Pruning

Time to prune apple and pear trees. Pruning of fruit trees and vines is primarily undertaken to maximise fruit set, yield, and fruit quality.

The objectives of good pruning are to;

  • Maintain the size and quantity of the fruit
  • Remove dead and diseased wood.
  • Train the young tree so that it will develop a vigorous strong framework of branches that is able to carry heavy crops over a long period of time without damage to the branches of the tree.
  • Train the tree to a form (vase shape, central leader shape etc.), which aids the management of disease control and harvesting.
  • Provide good quality and an even distribution of healthy fruiting wood throughout the tree.

Prune your trees on a day that you would dry your washing on and paint all cuts with pruning paste to minimise the risk of disease infection.

Follow this immediately with a spray of Gro Safe En Spray 99 and Gro Safe Free Flo Copper which for ease of application can be safely mixed together and get good results.

Months: June, July, August


Time to plant peony bulbs. They generally prefer a colder climate than what we have here in Whanganui. However the blooms are so captivating many try and succeed to grow these gems in Whanganui. Picking a colder spot in the garden is advantageous and some say to empty the icebox from the freezer around them during winter to simulate a cooler climate.

Months: July, August

Outdoor Seeds to Sow

Vegetable Seeds that can be sown outdoors now include: Beetroot, Broccoli, Broccoflower, Broad beans, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Cress, Kale, Lettuce, Mesclun, Pak Choi, Parsley, Rocket, Silverbeet, Spring Onion, Spinach, Sage, Thyme.

Months: August

Moss and Weeds in Lawns

Time to treat lawns for moss and weed infestations. There are several options for moss control:

‘Yates Weed n Feed Mosskiller and Fertiliser’; This one treatment removes moss and strengthens the remaining grass.

‘Tui Moss Control’; kills moss but doesn’t feed the lawn.

Broadleaf weeds in the lawn can be controlled with the use of ‘Yates Turfix’

Months: August

Hanging Baskets

Plant up hanging baskets, pots and containers for a summer display.

Renew the potting mix in existing hanging baskets, pots and containers before replanting. Using a good potting mix such as ‘Natural Bark Potting Mix’ or ‘Tui Pot Power’ will give far superior results.

Months: August, September, October, November

Glasshouse Tomatoes

Glasshouse plantings of tomatoes can be made but be wary low overnight temperatures can be fatal to young tender plants.

Months: August

Get Planting

The planting conditions in August are great for so many plants including: strawberry plants, passionfruit, raspberries, citrus.

Months: August, September

Frost preparation

Prepare for frosts; make sure you have supplies of frost cloth ready if you have frost sensitive plants that may be at risk. You can also spray on a product called vapour-guard which will give frost protection to treated plants.

Months: May, June, July, August

Flower Maintenance

Your perennials (a plant that will regrow in Spring) will require cutting down to soil level at the end of their growing season. You can choose to cut the plant back when it is finished or you may choose to leave the foliage if the plant has interesting seed heads that can be enjoyed by the birds. Then you would cut the plant back in late Winter. This would include plants such as delphiniums, hosta, brunnera, some day lilies, thalictrum, cranes bill geranium.

Months: June, July, August

Fertilise Winter and Spring flowers

Time to fertilise winter and spring flowering and fruiting plants such as citrus, rhododendrons, camellias, daphne, azaleas and others to aid flower developments for spring. Come in store to find the right fertiliser you need.

Months: March, April, August, September

Fertilise and Compost Trees

Time to fertilise and compost all trees, shrubs & garden borders to stimulate spring growth and improve plant health including:

  • Feed azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and daphne with ‘Tui Acid Food’
  • Feed citrus and other fruit trees with ‘Tui Citrus Food’
  • Feed roses with ‘Tui Rose Food’
  • Feed hydrangeas to ensure they flower the colour you want them to be. Use garden lime to make hydrangea blooms pink and red, use aluminium sulphate to ensure blooms are blue.
Months: August

Feed your Winter flowers

Feed polyanthus, pansies, primula and cyclamen with dried blood sold as ‘Tui Flower Booster’ (quite different to blood and bone). Use a teaspoon amount around each plant to enhance flowering and plant health.

Months: June, July, August

Divide up Herbaceous Plants

It is time to divide up perennial and herbaceous plants such as, peonies, daylilies & hostas, which have become congested. Replant the outside parts of the plants and throw out the centre portion.

Months: August

Dig in Green Crops

Time to cut down & dig in green crops that have been grown in spare areas of the vegetable garden, applying garden lime as the crop is dug in will aid decomposition in preparation for planting later.

Months: August

Dig in Compost

Dig in plenty of compost and fertilise (use Ican Organic Vegetable Food) all garden areas in preparation for planting of summer vegetables; best to wait till late September/ early October before making plantings of corn, cucumbers, zuchinni, capsicums, pumpkins & tomatoes outside. Seeds of these can be planted now in trays inside for planting out at the appropriate time.

Months: August

Deciduous Fruit Tree Planting

The winter months are optimal for planting deciduous fruit trees. If you want to harvest your own fresh fruit then now is the time to plan out your home orchard. Fruit tree varieties due into store include; apple, plum, apricot, cherry, pear, peach, nectarine, peachcot, plumcot, quince, walnut, hazelnut, chestnut, plus others. Some fruit variety numbers are limited – it is recommended to place an order instore if you are after something in particular. If limited for space, try family tree planting, check out this link

Also a good time to plant; pomegranate, fig, gooseberry, grape, currents,  mandarin, lemon, other citrus, and more. This is the time of year with the best selection.

Months: June, July, August

Care with the first of your Summer Flower Seedlings

New seasons plants of some of the first summer flowering annuals will start to arrive into the garden centre soon including; Lobelia, Livingstone Daisy and the first Petunia seedlings. One must be wary of any cold nights, if the temperature drops below 8˚C it would be wise to cover with frost cloth any newly planted seedlings. For those not so keen to gamble in the garden waiting until later in September is a safer bet.

Months: August, September

August Unpredictable Weather

August is often the month of the year with the most unpredictable weather. Some years the weather warms mid-month and spring comes early. Other years low pressure weather systems bring cold fronts and frost.

Be wary of any cold nights, if the temp drops below 5˚C it would be wise to cover with frost cloth any frost sensitive plants. Make sure you have supplies of frost cloth ready if you have frost sensitive plants that may be at risk. You can also spray on a product called vapour-guard which will give frost protection to treated plants.

As the month progresses signs of spring appear everywhere in our city and district. Many trees buds are swelling and as the days lengthen more plants come into bloom.

Months: August