Winter has always been a challenging season for gardeners. Weather conditions that are either too hot or too cold may pose serious threats to the health and growth of most garden plants and trees. 

Australia’s winter usually runs from June to August, with temperatures generally falling between 3 to 11°C. Australia has varying climates across its states and territories; most parts of the country experience four seasons, while the tropical north has dry and wet seasons. 

According to the weather outlook published on the Australia Website, the temperature in New South Wales during winter can drop between an average of 7.1 to 8.6°C, 6 to 6.9°C in Victoria, 9.5 to 10.9°C in Queensland, 8 to 9°C in Western Australia, 7.5 to 8.5°C in South Australia, and 4.6 to 5.2°C in Tasmania. The climate in the Australian Capital Territory can also get really cold, with temperatures falling between 0.1 to 1°C. Meanwhile, the Northern Territory can enjoy a fair climate with temperatures between 19.3 to 20.4°C.

June and July are considered the coldest months in Australia, and the temperatures in some states, including Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, may even drop to 0°C during the coldest nights. 

But in spite of the various seasonal issues they may encounter, nothing can really stop plant growers from tending to their gardens. General gardening activities may slow down, but winter-specific problems may also arise. And as what long-time gardeners would often say, you can’t just sit idly during winter and just wait for the next season to come.

Gardening and mental health

Home gardening has continued to flourish, most especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gone are the days when only the elder members of the family are into gardening. The interest in this particular hobby has significantly increased over the years, reaching different age groups, even the millennials. The hobby has expanded indoors not only to clean the air, but houseplants are used to decorate homes as well.

In fact, in Australia, vegetable gardens have also boomed since the onset of the global health crisis. According to the first-ever National Pandemic Gardening Survey, which reflects answers from over 9,000 gardeners from urban, regional, and remote communities across Australia, growing vegetable gardens or what is popularly called as “edible gardening” is actually good for the mind, body, and soul. 

Based on the survey results, nearly 20 per cent of the respondents would not have survived the pandemic without their gardens, while another 62 per cent said their gardens were certainly a great deal during the pandemic lockdowns. 

WebMD has listed four essential benefits of gardening for our mental health. First, gardening can help improve your mood. Focusing your attention on immediate gardening tasks can reduce negative thoughts and feelings. Second, it can also boost your self-esteem. Helping a plant live and grow is already a big win because gardening can really be a hard task at times. Seeing the results of your efforts can boost your sense of pride. 

Third, it helps improve attention span. Gardening can help you focus on what’s right in front of you without getting distracted. And lastly, gardening provides exercise. Tasks like weeding, raking, digging, and watering the plants are good forms of exercise. Studies show regular exercise can help reduce anxiety, depression, and other mental issues. 

Sustain, an Australian food network specialising in designing and building sustainable & healthy food systems said that along with these substantial mental health benefits, edible gardens also have the power to create greener cities, reduce household waste, strengthen community connectedness, and enhance food security and encourage fresh produce consumption.

Common garden problems

Now that we know the positive impact of gardening in our daily lives, we can now understand why gardeners couldn’t give it up even in the coldest months. If you are among those, who can’t be bothered by the cold, at least learn about the most common problems you may encounter in your garden during winter. 

Here’s a list that could come in handy: 

1.    Frost heave  

Image by: Missouri Botanical Garden 

According to Gardening Know How, a frost heave will occur if the soil is exposed to freezing temperatures and plenty of moisture. It also said that the pressure created from alternating freezing and thawing conditions could lift the soil, and plants can actually go up and out of the ground.  

Gardening Know How also explained that when additional moisture from deeper soil layers is drawn upward and freezes, the ice will expand and create excessive downward and upward pressure. 

The downward pressure can cause compacted soil, which does not allow adequate airflow or drainage. On the other hand, the upward pressure can damage the soil structure and create the frost heave that is often characterized by deep cracks throughout the soil. These cracks are the culprit in exposing the roots of the plants to the cold air above. 

If plants are lifted out of their surrounding soil, they will dry out and die due to severe exposure. 

2.    Dehydration of plants

Image by: Stocksy

Now here’s a common misconception. Most gardeners think watering the garden in winter is totally pointless because plants and other trees are usually dormant during the season. But do you know evergreen trees and shrubs such as conifers and pine trees actually lose large amounts of water during cold days? This means if there is not enough rainfall during winter, these plants would need watering at least once per month to keep the soil moist.

A sign that tells your garden babies are dehydrated would be the change in their leaf colour. If you see the lush greens slowly turning brown and getting all bent and wilted, then it’s time to adjust your watering schedule. 

Just a reminder that overwatering can also cause trouble for your plants, so it’s better to really study which ones need to be watered frequently and not. 

3.    Sunscald or Southwest injury

Image by: Tulsa World 

I’m sure most of us have already noticed this problem in our gardens, but we just didn’t know what it’s called. The sunscald, also called Southwest injury, refers to the damage suffered through the killing of active cells within the trunk and limbs of sensitive trees during the winter months. 

This damage is caused by alternate freezing and thawing of water in the trunk and occurs on the southwest portion, which is the most exposed to the sun. Young trees with thin bark are said to be the most susceptible to this kind of problem, but matured trees with rather thick bark can also suffer from this injury. 

4.   Weak and spindly plants


This is perhaps one of the most common garden problems, whatever the season is. Our garden babies naturally need access to sunlight for nutrients and sustained growth. During cold days, you may notice the foliage of your plants is starting to look weak and spindly. Take it as a bad sign and immediately look for other spots where they can get enough source of light. 

What could be worse during winter is the absence of direct sunlight. If this happens, while direct sunlight is typically the preferred type, you may also use artificial light sources as alternatives. 

5. Storing Gardening Tools in Winter

One aspect of winter gardening that’s often overlooked is the storage of gardening tools and equipment. Proper storage not only ensures the longevity of your tools but also keeps them readily accessible for any winter gardening tasks. A garden shed is an ideal solution for this. Whether you’re looking for a space to store your lawnmower, pots, fertilizers, or other gardening essentials, a garden shed can keep them organized and protected from the elements. If you’re considering getting one, check out this garden shed site for a variety of options suitable for any garden size.

6.    Garden weeds and pests

Image by: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development 

As mentioned earlier, most gardeners think everything turns dormant in winter. And by everything, we mean plants, trees, grass, weeds, and pests. This thinking makes us lower our guards, and the next thing we know, our garden has already been infested by these sneaky guests. 

For a refresher, here are the most common weeds and pests we can find in Australian gardens: Bindii, defined as a low-growing annual winter weed that can start to germinate as early as Autumn; Psyllids or plant lice, which are tiny, sap-sucking insects that can feed exclusively on a single type of plant; Sooty mould, a fungal disease that grows on plants and other surfaces covered by honeydew, and is also called block mould that leaves black stains or coatings on leaves, stems, and fruits; Block spot, one of the most common diseases found where roses are planted; and Snails and Slugs, which are considered among the most destructive pests in the gardens. 

If your plants show yellowing, deformed leaves, or scarred or stunted flowers, there is a high possibility that garden weeds and pests have already invaded them. Take necessary action as soon as possible! 

Aside from these common problems, gardeners are also often confused about whether they are allowed to mow their lawn or not in winter. Remember, grass may grow slower and can even go completely dormant in cold weather, but winter lawn care is still as important as the rest of the season. 

Image by: Sidepost

Did you know the height of the grass also varies depending on the season? It is said that grass shouldn’t be too tall during winter. Ideally, we should avoid growing the grass above three inches because if it gets too tall, the grass can wilt and restrict the airflow. This could also lead to collecting moisture, which will then result in fungal diseases. Tall grass can also attract mice and other garden pests that love staying in warm spaces. 

If we can’t grow the grass too tall, we also can’t cut it too short during winter because this can affect the health of your lawn. They said that if the grass is too short, it can be difficult to absorb sunlight and other essential nutrients. 

Without sufficient sunlight and nutrients, the grass will appear in yellow and brown colours, and you will have to spend maybe the entire Spring for it to be healthy again and get back to its green colour. 

Lawn work can be done only once every three to four weeks during the winter, but it can still be a nuisance considering the amount of other important things you need to do.  You know the rule, if you can’t find time to do it yourself, you can always hire lawn mowing services in your neighbourhood. This Website can allow you to quickly book a cleaner and finish all your lawn mowing tasks this winter. We’ve got professional lawn care specialists at Gold Coast, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, and almost everywhere in Australia so finding one near you won’t take long.

Just a few reminders before setting a lawn mowing appointment: find a home service with several scheduling options. Some can offer daily, weekly and fortnightly services, and you can just choose depending on your needs. In case unwanted situations occur, it is better if they can also allow you to cancel your appointment anytime and rebook with your preferred schedule without additional charges. 

In some cases, services during public holidays and weekends have higher rates compared to regular days. Look for home services that won’t charge additional fees for holidays and weekend slots. 

In terms of the service itself, hire top-rated, local lawn professionals who are insured. Why is insurance important? Accidents can still happen even if it is just your backyard lawn and no matter how competent they are at work. 

Finding budget-friendly and trustworthy contractors you can work with will also be better. You can always find affordable services out there, but the results can sometimes be compromised. To avoid having problems, make sure to check their credibility first. You can find testimonials from customers and rating reviews online. 

Now you know winter is not an excuse for you to abandon your garden duties. Continue to take care of your plants, mow your lawn, and enjoy the cold days! To keep your lawn in tip-top condition, read our professional tips. Here’s also a quick guide on the best time for lawn mowing.