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October

Water shrubs deeply to encourage downward root growth. They will become stronger and more drought-tolerant. Shallow watering encourages roots to turn upwards, and so weakens the plant.

Hydrangeas and fuchsias need lots of water. Try to group your water-loving plants together. It saves water and makes watering much easier.

Pinch back fuchsias regularly to encourage more branches. This ultimately leads to more flowers.

Feed camellias and gardenias with ammonium sulphate, 30g (two tablespoons) per bush. Mix in 5 litres of water. Water the bushes well before feeding. Fertiliser should never be applied to dry soil.

Perennials will be growing strongly - make sure they get enough water. Feed with a high potassium fertiliser such as 3:1:5(26)(SR).

Weeds will be flourishing. Cut annual weeds before they set seed.

Pinch back the growing tips of argyranthemums (you may know them as chrysanthemums) and pelargoniums to encourage bushy growth.

In the Western Cape, water regularly, particularly plants that are native to summer-rainfall regions. And remember to mulch well. If your bunches of grapes are over-crowded, cut out some of the berries. Guavas should be fed with 2:3:2(22) fertiliser.

Start fertlising your container plants, and do so regularly throughout the summer. Use a liquid fertiliser such as Nitrosol. Always wet the soil before applying the fertiliser.

Summer bulbs can be planted now, up to late November.

It's a good time to plant hedges in summer rainfall regions, or any other region if water is plentiful.

Final sowing of in-situ seeds of summer-flowering annuals by the middle of October.

Plant out summer-flowering seedlings. See what's available at your local nursery.

Rotate annuals - don't sow the same species in the same place every year.

FRUIT

Fruit fly and coddling moth larvae will be after your ripening fruit now. Try using a herbal insecticide before resorting to the chemicals.


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