Tips for established gardens

This page has information on how to keep an established garden healthy in the Northern Territory (NT). 

Soil and mulch

Leaf litter alone usually does not supply enough organic matter for your plants, or enough cover to slow evaporation. 

Add well rotted organic matter to the soil and water thoroughly before adding your mulch layer on top. 

Don't put the mulch on too thick as it can stop water from getting in. Avoid mulching near tree trunks or they could rot.

Plant care

Established gardens in NT often have large trees and lots of undergrowth. This can cause overcrowding, root competition and stop water from getting into the soil. 

You may need to clean out old undergrowth and remove some trees or vegetation to give other plants room. 


Water penetration can be a problem at any time of year. 

You can improve water penetration and the effectiveness of your sprinklers by doing all of the following:

  • checking that sprinklers are not blocked
  • checking sprinkler wetting patterns to make sure water is going where it is needed
  • checking that your water timer is working.

You can check how far down the water is getting by digging a hole in your garden.

You can help water sink in further by watering for longer but on fewer occasions or at night when there is less evaporation.

Last updated: 26 February 2016

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