Ah, winter in Melbourne.
Sometimes, in summer and even mid-autumn, it’s hard to imagine how cold the southerly winds can get, and how bleak and grey the skies. This is where deciduous trees, which drop their leaves and become bare -branched, can be a garden’s saviour. Because what dim light there is on those grizzly dark days can get through those bare limbs, and brighten up our patch of ground.
It’s also the best time to prune deciduous shrubs and trees. Why? Because stripped of their foliage, the plant’s structure is exposed. You can spot the dodgy stubs that have died back, and remove them. You can also easily spot the so-called “3Ds” – dead, damaged or diseased branches and stems- and remove them, along with anything that is crossing or rubbing other branches. These dead and dying parts of plants are hosts to pests and diseases that could eventually prove fatal to the plant.
Then work on the overall structure. Unclutter the middle growth, and reduce the height of fruit trees if necessary, as the fruit is not much use to you if it’s three metres off the ground. A nice feast for the birds and possums though!
Take out any branch that is transgressing onto paths. The tree doesn’t own the joint, you do!
Do it in you own time though, don’t stress. And mind those ladders!