In the garden this week: Protect woodlands

Autumn is the time to stockpile deciduous leaves for use in your garden. Collecting those from stormwater drains helps protect local waterways from pollution.
  • Add compost, a batch of life-giving worm tea and a light covering of organic mulch such as lucerne to rejuvenate tired garden beds and activate invaluable soil life. This is particularly important for productive crops to ensure a bumper harvest in the following season. Weed-free manures can also be added to new beds now so they have time to decompose before planting into them in spring.
  • Harvest citrus crops as they ripen to keep nutrition in the plants and not directed to the fruit at their expense. Fruit can be zested, juiced and frozen for later use – ice cube trays are a convenient way of doing this. The leftovers can be steeped in cleaning vinegar to make a handy all-purpose cleaner.
  • Cover any frost-sensitive plants with seasonal cloches (preferably recycled) such as those made from shade cloth, translucent plastic, bubble wrap, soft drink bottles and milk containers. Ensure there is adequate ventilation to prevent overheating and pest and disease problems.
  • Autumn is the time to collect deciduous leaves for your garden! Deciduous leaves are full of beneficial microbes, making them a fabulous carbon ingredient in your compost pile. Mulch larger leaves in a mulcher or the catcher of your mower, to ensure they decompose in the composting process. If you don’t have any in your yard there are plenty on local roadsides – you are doing your community a favour by keeping leaves from polluting waterways. However, avoid leaves contaminated by pollutants.
  • Maintenance pruning can be carried out on many deciduous plants during late autumn and winter. This is a handy time to do so as you can easily view the structure of the tree. Ask your local garden centre for more information, alternatively there is a plethora of online resources.
  • Keep an eye on soil moisture – although evaporation levels are low and plant growth is slowing at this time of year, our botanical friends and soil life still need the odd water or two, particularly with the dry weather of late.

Help protect our woodlands

Did you know the ACT has more than 79,000 hectares of lowland and subalpine woodlands? These areas provide critical habitat for a diverse array of plant species and native animals. We have a responsibility to the local and national community to protect and manage these areas effectively.

A new draft ACT Native Woodland Conservation Strategy to guide management over the next 10 years is open for community comment until 24 May. The ACT Government is keen to hear perspectives from anyone interested in our woodlands.

Comment on the strategy until 24 May at

Celebrate Canberra Tree Week with STEP into Plein Air

STEP into Plein Air is a free event at the National Arboretum on 8 May as part of this year’s Canberra Tree Week.

Bring your chair, easel, paints, pencils or charcoal to STEP – Forest 20, National Arboretum Canberra, for a free morning of art, native plant appreciation and good company. A tutor from NatureArtLab will be present to demonstrate. Morning tea will be provided (donation to STEP would be appreciated).

When: Meet 9am Wednesday 8 May at the Village Centre, National Arboretum Canberra.

Bookings are essential: [email protected]

For more information about Canberra Tree Week including calendar of events visit:

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