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If native gardens are your cup of tea then just add the correct plants and water, however if you are after a more tropical or exotic feel then understanding what our soils lack and amending them is fundamental to achieving the most thriving low maintenance garden possible. Soil amendments are a little more involved than most people think and it really does make a difference knowing exactly what to add and how. This is where we would love to help.
Perth’s soils vary considerably depending on where you are. In a nutshell the major Swan Coastal Plain soil types range in alkalinity and age with the youngest soils closest to the coast. These soils are known as Quindalup dune soils are also the most alkaline with an alkalinity of up to 9 or above. As we move inland the next lot of soils are collectively known as the Spearwood dunes. These soils are less alkaline however are still alkaline. Moving inland again are Bassendean sands and they are slightly acidic however become highly water repellent particularly in summer when they are exposed to the baking sun. Moving away from the Swan coastal plain and up into the hills and you will find the soil becomes quite hard and rocky due to the lateritic clay and coffee rock/pea gravel that make up those soils. Even finding a place to dig a hole can be a challenge.
Let us take care of the technical stuff and you can benefit from our knowledge and understanding of soils. We know which plants like which soil type and how to amend the soil if required. A so called landscape designer that previously worked on a job I was on installed acid loving plants such as Gardenias and Azaleas into a soil which had shallow limestone and had an alkalinity of 7.4(tested). These plants always looked stressed and hungry due to being starved of nutrients particularly Iron, Zinc and Copper plus some trace elements due to the pH vs nutrient availability and the soil having an alkalinity of 7.4(tested by a reputable major soil supplier). The solution was to remove the unhappy plants and replace them with plants that love those conditions. The solution was to use coastal native plants that naturally thrive in these soil types. We could have used exotics that like those conditions however this would require extra cost and effort amending the soil.
In general soils in Perth can range from slightly acidic to very alkaline. Knowing how to recognise this and how to change it to suit your landscape needs or what types of plants best suit makes all the difference between a thriving success or a barren failure.
We know how to test your soil and can provide you with advice or assistance in working within the constraints of your soil type to the correct selection of plants that are best suited to thrive.
Let us save you the time and hassle of going to the nursery and choosing the wrong plants only for you to be back there every 3 months replacing many failures. We love plants and we have years of experience with a wide range of plants particularly native plants but not only. This will result in you getting quality results the first time. Remember the old saying rich man pays once, poor man pays twice. Our trusted suppliers have the highest quality stock. We only use the highest quality nurseries around Perth most of which aren’t well known to the general public who think a trip to a well-known hardware store solves all life’s problems.
Our trusted nurseries specialize in the type of plant you are after. We don’t go to 1 nursery and get everything unless it is a very generic garden design. We will go from one end of the city to the other in search of the highest quality stock grown under the strictest hygiene standards and growing conditions.
The main failure most DIY gardeners experience when it comes to plants is incorrect planting time(ie planting tube stock in February), planted too shallow or too deep, not planting according to plant light requirements(i.e. planting Kangaroo paws or other sun loves in the shade or planting ferns, Begonias or African Violets in full sun). No soil preparation in the case of roses for example. No hardening off for plants that come out of a shade house and then planting them straight into full sun. Western Australia is spoilt for choice when it comes to native plants. It isn’t known as the wildflower state for nothing with around 13,000 natives to choose from and between 2000-3000 different natives available from specialist nurseries and increasing depending on revegetation demand and public demand.
Understanding the plant and its requirements is something that takes skill and knowledge. Not all plants will grow alongside others. . It is well known in the scientific community that different plants excrete different chemicals from their roots to favour their growth over that of another species. This is called allelopathy. Weeds are very good at this particularly weeds like Wild Raddish (Raphanus raphanistrum) which come from the Brassicacae family.
Understanding plants also encompasses an understanding of companion planting. Plants that benefit from the growth of others around them. Not only that but plant rotations are important in preventing a build-up of disease and soil pathogens. Rotating plants from a different family season to season or every few years can overcome this as diseases and pathogens in general prefer plants in the same family.
We have access to quality nurseries where we can identify and select the healthiest plants best suited for your garden.
Not all soils are the same. Soils can vary from highly alkaline beach sand on the coast to yellow brickies sand (used in the building industry) and hydrophobic Bassendean sands soils in the suburbs, acidic waterlogged clays/marsh type soils along the rivers to acidic lateritic clays/gravels in the hills. The one common thread running through all of this is that Soils along the Swan coastal plain are in general quite nutrient poor phosphorus as Australian soils in general are old and weathered. The most surprising find recently is that the ecoregion known as the Kwongan area in Western Australia has some of the poorest soils on the planet with some of the most biodiversity on the planet. This is due to the plants having to carve out such a specialized niche to survive in such harsh conditions over such a long period of time. Australian plants have learned to adapt over thousands of years to survive and thrive. Therefore, we find such a diverse range of plants types from one location to the next. It is because they have learned to survive on the types of nutrients present in the soil in that particular area including the amount of annual rainfall.
For many we are encouraged by commercial gardening supply companies that we must fertilise, fertilise and fertilise in order to achieve thriving green lawns and splendid gardens.
The fact is this over fertilisation is not only harmful to the environment but can actually kill the plants you are trying to grow. Thorough soil preparation be it lawns or garden beds can in some cases bring down your fertiliser requirement to significantly less than without preparation where all the fertiliser in the world won’t turn your struggle lawn or plant into something to be proud of. Giving phosphorus sensitive plants such as Banksias and Grevilleas general purpose fertiliser will kill them. These aren’t the only natives it will kill with many others susceptible also.
Not all fertilisers contain the same nutrients in the same quantities. Knowing your soil type and the types of plants you intend to grow is important when choosing what types of fertilisers to use, when to apply them and the right amounts to be applied.
CONTINUOUS PLANT CARE
It's no secret that plants add beautiful backdrops. Our lawn care specialists add elements of nature to your home by:
- Controlling Weeds
ROUTINE MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS
Schedule us for regular maintenance. Our landscapers tailor the most suitable programs for your location and needs. For your convenience, we offer a variety of intervals, including:
- Bi annually
For more information speak to us on 0409 539 855