Victor Szwed

February in Daylesford has been exceptionally dry with only some 5mm of rain compared to the long-term average of 44.4mm. The Bureau of Meteorology is anticipating drier and warmer than normal conditions for the coming three months.

The fires around Raglan,  Amphitheatre and  Mt Cole have highlighted that we are in the midst of a high risk fire season. It is important to have your fire plan ready.

While our calendars indicate that “summer” ended on the 29th of February, the season normally continues until the autumn equinox on the 20th of March. This is when the sun is exactly above the equator which makes the day and night of equal length. Normally we then see a change in the weather with milder autumn conditions arriving but fire risk can remain high well beyond that if the dry and warm conditions persist.

The dry conditions may also affect our usually wonderful autumn colours. Unfortunately, with the expected drier conditions, changes in colour of deciduous trees may not be as spectacular.

Gardeners will have noticed that some plants have been showing signs of stress as they dry out. It is important to carefully water plants and mulch them so that they survive until the autumn break arrives.

Most fruit trees will have finished producing their fruit crops and now can be a good time to do some initial pruning. The main pruning should be done in  winter to shape your fruit trees. Also, check about when and what to feed your fruit trees. Fertilising packets usually have some advice such as when to feed citrus trees compared to plums, apples and others. Feeding these trees usually requires a good soaking to ensure that the feed gets to the roots and the spring produces some great yields.

Victor Szwed is a Daylesford resident who contributes a monthly column on past weather and the forecast for the months ahead.