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How to Care for your Landscape - Long Term.

Landscape Care: Long Term Maintenance 


Gardens in New Zealand conditions involve a combination of tasks to ensure their health and vitality. Here are some long term landscape care tips from an award winning landscaper, to help you get the best out of your garden and to help it thrive.  


Established ornamental plants  

Water deeply and infrequently for deep root growth. Once a week is best for ornamental species. It’s good practice to wait until the soil has dried between watering. 

Over/under watering 

After the first month, more plants die from over watering than under watering. To avoid over watering, do the finger test. Poke your finger into the soil in a few different places. If the soil feels dry, and your finger comes out clean, then it's probably time for some water. If the soil around your fingertip is still moist then it’s time to sit back and just enjoy the garden.  

Edible plants 

May need daily watering, especially during early fruit set and development. 


Weed Control 

Manual weeding 

Regularly remove weeds to prevent competition. Weeds thrive in bare patches of earth, add/top up mulch with bark, pea straw, or woollen weed mat to suppress them. 

Hand pick weeds for best results. Remove weeds when they are still young and before they set seed. Remove the entire weed, including root, rhizome, tubers or bulbs. 

Chemical weeding 

Use chemical weed killers only in still wind conditions and away from desirable plants. Organic options are available at garden and hardware stores. 


Lawn Care 


Spring and autumn are the best times for general maintenance tasks like de-thatching, top dressing, aeration and fertilising. Avoid fertilising when it’s warm and wet which promotes fungal diseases.  


In summer lifting the height of your mower blades will help keep the lawn looking lusher and make it more heat and drought resistant. 

Keep mower blades sharp. Clean cuts reduce moisture lost and diseases taking hold. 

For further information: 

Hardscape Maintenance 


If you chose to oil or stain your timber, reapply every 1 to 2 years. 

Mild cleaning solutions and a soft brush in spring are great for keeping decks tidy. Avoid harsh chemicals. 


Avoid placing metal objects directly on the concrete to prevent rust transfer. Remove rust stains promptly using a rust remover. 

Fix any cracks and chips promptly with a concrete patching compound to prevent water infiltration. 

Mild cleaning solutions and a soft brush in spring are great for keeping concrete tidy. Avoid harsh chemicals. 


Plant Protection 

  • Stake trees only if the root ball is in danger of rocking. Otherwise, it's good for trees to bend naturally in the wind and naturally generate strong roots. 

  • Place stakes on windward side of the tree, perpendicular to prevailing winds. Use soft, wide, flat ties to secure the tree to the stakes. Attach ties to lower third of the tree trunk, below the first set of branches to stabilize the lower part of the tree while allowing the upper part to move naturally. 

  • Stakes should be removed once the tree is established and can support itself against wind. Leaving stakes on for too long can lead to weak tree development 

  • Bring irrigation tap timers indoors when frost danger is high to protect them from damage. Gardens tend to do better over winter if they are a bit drier. 

  • Some plants, like lemons, are sensitive to frost. Cover with frost cloth when frost danger is high. 

  • Gardens in rural zones or bordering reserves, are prone to damage from pests like rabbits, possums or hedgehogs. Plant sleeves with bamboo canes or tree sleeves are great at discouraging pests from eating ornamental grasses. Blood and bone at the base of plants also feeds vulnerable plants while deterring pests. 


Further information:   (Pl@ntNet: great plant ID mobile app)  (Canterbury Horticultural Society) 



Pruning and Trimming 

Seasonal pruning 

Regularly prune trees and shrubs for shape and health.  

Summer pruning helps contain growth. 

Winter pruning helps shape trees and shrubs. 



Remove dead or diseased branches, as well as branches that cross over or are rubbing together.  



The general rule for trimming shrubs and hedges is when the light new green growth turns a darker green, it’s safe to trim. 



Can be cut back to 10-20cms of stem at the beginning of winter. They will burst back into life the following spring. 



Old growth and seed heads are removed from the plant to promote new growth and re-flowering. As blooms fade, pinch or cut off the flower stems below the spent flowers and just above the first set of full, healthy leaves. 


Specific pruning 

Species like Roses, Hydrangea and Citrus respond well to specific pruning techniques. If in doubt, check specific techniques online or get a specialist to show you. 


Further information: 

An Illustrated Guide to Pruning. (Gilman, 2011)  

Pest and Disease Management 

  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Where branches meet and under leaves are great places for pests and diseases to hide. 

  • Use natural or organic methods where possible. 

  • Remove badly affected plants to prevent spread. Don’t put diseased foliage into the compost.  


Further information: 

Garden Pest & Disease Control. (Brett, 2016) 


Feeding Soil 

  • Building healthy soil is a gradual process, and consistency is key. 

  • Establish a composting system to recycle organic waste and use it to enrich your soil with valuable nutrients and carbon.  

  • Consider slow-release fertilizers to provide a steady supply of nutrients over time. Natural fertilizers such as compost, bone meal, fish emulsion, well-rotted manure, or seaweed extract provide a slow-release of nutrients and add organic bulk to the soil. Go easy on chemical fertilizers which can harm critical soil life like earthworms and microbes. 

  • Most plants prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH range. If the pH is too high or too low, it can affect nutrient availability. pH levels can be adjusted with amendments like lime or sulphur. Plants like roses, rhododendrons, blueberries or lawns have specific pH ranges they like. If in doubt, check online and adjust with lime or sulphur. 

  • Edible gardening can be an art, good practice includes; cover cropping, crop rotation, green manures and companion planting can make a huge difference and its fun! There’s a wealth of information online regarding sustainable garden management. 


Further information: Get Fresh: How to Grow Delicious Vegetables and Herbs in New Zealand. (Greville, 2007) 


Preparation for additional planting 

  • Improve soil quality with organic matter like compost. 

  • Choose plants that are well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions like natives. 

  • Mulch soil for moisture retention, weed suppression, and temperature regulation.  

  • For new plants consider drip irrigation to conserve water. 

  • Top up mulch every 2-3 years. 

Green Therapy Seasonal Maintenance 


Maintenance Package 

$35/30mins on site 

We perform seasonal maintenance on your garden. 


Early Spring to early Summer: Weeding, shrub trimming, and additional planting. 

Late Summer tidy-up: Weeding, mulching, trimming, and dead heading. 

Late Autumn/Winter: Pruning, trimming, weeding and additional planting. 


Coaching Package 

$90/hour on site 

We show you how to perform basic landscape maintenance with a written summary of key tasks specific to your garden. 

garden landscaper Christchurch
Award winning landscaper, Christchurch NZ


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