Australian Native Plant Job List For August

•Time to begin fertilising native plants in frost free districts. While many natives are now being shown to be less sensitive to phosphorus than has been thought in the past it is still worthwhile using low phosphorus fertilisers designed for Australian plants as this will still give a good result whether the species in question is sensitive to phosphorus or not. An organic alternative is to use some very well rotted cow or horse manure as a mulch around the base of the plant. Fertilising is ideally done as each species finishes flowering in conjunction with a light overall pruning. Delay fertilising plants that have not yet flowered such as NSW Christmas Bush.
•Most banksias and correas are finishing their flowering at present and so it is a great time to give them a light all over trim and remove any spent flowers.
•Wildflower season is now in full swing in many areas of the Australian bush, but particularly to the north of Perth such as Kalbarri National Park and around the Sydney sandstone region in spots like Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Get out for a walk and be inspired.
•Many spring flowering native plants will be covered in developing flower buds at this time so it is particularly important to keep moisture levels even. This can be achieved through the use of wetting agents, mulches and judicious watering if there is an absence of rainfall.
•This is a great time to take tip cuttings of native daisies such as brachyscomes and everlasting daisies. All strike readily in a well drained potting mix. Use a cut down drink bottle over the pot to increase humidity levels during the early stages of propagation.
•In frost free areas it is a good time to fertilise new tree and shrub plantings. A 2 to 5cm mulch of well rotted cow or horse manure is a really good option for all native plants.
•Lightly trim winter flowering wattles that have finished blooming. This also allows the removal of developing seed pods which are capable of self seeding and becoming environmental weeds if you are near natural bushland areas.
• Plant some ground covering fan flowers (Scaevola species and cultivars) now for a continuous display of mauve, purple or white for the next 9 months. They prefer a well drained sunny position.
•Native shrubs that have been planted over the last year or so will benefit greatly from tip pruning over the next few months. Simply pinch out the soft growing tips at the end of the shoots to create a compact shape with greatly enhanced flowering performance.