Well, Yasi has come and gone, and we’re all out in the garden cleaning up, getting things back into order, and doing our best to return to normal.
Here’s a few hints for your post-Yasi clean-up:
- You’ve probably got leaf litter, twigs and small branches everywhere. This is fantastic mulch, so put it to good use and spread it back on your gardens. You can rake it up (and get some exercise at the same time). But one of the best inventions of recent times is the garden blower. Blow the leaves off your paths and lawns and back onto the garden. You garden will look neat and tidy in no time.
- If branches have broken off any of your plants, don’t be afraid to prune the plants back into shape. Remove the broken branches, then stand back and assess what’s left of the plant. Pretend you’re a hairdresser, and give the plant a hair-cut all over to make it look balanced, tidy and respectable again.
- If your plants have blown over, or are a little wobbly on their feet, then they’ll need to be straightened up and staked for a while until they recover. In this has happened, then the plants will almost certainly have suffered damage to their root systems, so it is important not to inflict further damage in the rescue process. Every time you stand the plant up, you will probably damage more roots. So, get all your tools together (stakes, rope and someone to help you) before you start. Then stand the plant up, put the stakes in, and tie it up all in one go. Do not stand the plant up and lie it back down again, as this will result in further damage to the roots. Finally, give the plant a haircut to take stress off the plant and to compensate for the root damage. Prune off foliage all round, in proportion to the amount of damage that you think the roots have suffered. Once the plant has recovered (say, in a couple of months) don’t forget to remove the stakes and tie.
- If any of your plants have broken clean off, then you have to decide whether to dig them out and throw them away, or to try to resurrect them. Plants have an amazing ability to regenerate, so if you are really fond of the particular plant it’s worth pruning it back neatly to a stump and giving it the chance to re-shoot. Many plants will sucker up very successfully from the base. You’ll probably get several suckers, so you will have to choose whether to leave them all (in which case you will get a shrubby shape) or to choose the strongest shoot. Or maybe it’s a good opportunity to dig the plant our and replace it with something new. It’s your choice, really. Either way, you’ll continue to get joy from the new life in your garden.
Happy gardening this cyclone season, and see you at Yuruga!
Peter and Ann