With the nights drawing in and the days getting cooler, there’s no getting away from the fact that winter is on its way.
There won’t be too many more chances to get all those gardening jobs done so, with the prospect of fine weather ahead, this is the perfect opportunity.
Here’s 10 things you need to get done in the garden this autumn:
1. Transplanting plants
Autumn is a really good time for transplanting work because the soil has sufficient moisture thanks to regular showers. The ground is still warm from the summer, therefore the plants still have enough time to get used to their new position and form new roots.
2. Planting bulbs
Bulbs can also be planted in autumn so their flowers germinate from the soil at the right time in spring to delight you with their blaze of colour. The right position is crucial for the heralders of spring to thrive and flower. Most like fresh, moist soil in spring, but during their dormant period in summer the soil can be dry and porous. Bulbs should be planted at a depth of two to three times their height.
3. Cutting herbaceous perennials, bushes and shrubs
When shrubs go yellow, their stems bend towards the ground or they start to go to seed, it is time to cut them down. This is because the plants are now drawing their sap back to their roots. If they are not cut down, they may decay. Bushes and shrubs can be cut to approximately a quarter of their size. This can, however, vary according to the type of bush or shrub.
4. Cutting hedges
Hedges should be pruned for the last time in autumn to prevent decaying if damp accumulates. Only cut deciduous hedges back as far as you can without creating any holes as these will not grow back over the winter, leaving the hedge looking bare. Any tree leaves lying on the hedge should also be removed as otherwise the hedge will not get enough fresh air and sun, resulting in rot.
In winter, the wet, low temperatures and weak sunshine effect the lawn. That’s why lawns need some TLC before the cold spell begins. When the leaves fall in autumn, they should be cleared from the lawn regularly. Leaves left lying on the lawn will deprive it of light and encourage the formation of dry, brown patches and the growth of moss. Mow your lawn for the last time around the beginning of November. Make sure that the grass is not cut shorter than 5cm as longer grass can make better use of less sunlight. This will ensure improved resistance against weeds and moss. Using an autumn fertiliser is also recommended.
6. Clear summer bedding
Remove annual plants from the border and dig over the ground ready for planting in the spring.
7. Protect plants
Beds, roses and other plants which are sensitive to frost should be covered with brushwood, leaves or similar. Alternatively it can be wrapped in bubble wrap. Bring pot plants indoors or place them in a sheltered position.
8. Frost damage prevention
Switch off water connections, empty taps and watering devices so that frozen water cannot cause any damage. Dismantle pond pumps and, if necessary, install an anti-ice pump.
9. Greenhouse maintenance
Remove everything and clean the structure, staging and floor with a garden disinfectant to help prevent pests and diseases overwintering successfully. Add insulation to the roof and walls.
10. Kitchen Garden
Clear fallen fruit and leaves. Harvest the last vegetable crops. Place cloches over tomato plants to help ripen the fruit. Plant garlic gloves, spring cabbage and broccoli in well-prepared ground.