All around us the leaves are falling, the air grows chillier and increasing rain and wind means autumn turns to winter…
Aerate your lawn and feed with an autumn lawn fertiliser which is high in phosphates and potash to encourage strong root growth. Continue to clear fallen leaves for a healthy lawn.
Bare-root deciduous hedging plants, trees and shrubs become available this month. They need to be planted before they dry out.
Protect newly planted trees, hedges and shrubs from wind and cold. A temporary netting windbreak is sufficient where there is no natural shelter. Straw, bracken, or something similar can be used to pack around deciduous plants and protect them from frost.
Perennial plants that are past their best should be cut right down, remembering to clear away all remains and added to the compost heap.
Shrubs normally pruned hard in the spring – such as Buddleia, Cornus and Lavatera – can be cut back by half now, to prevent wind rock and neaten their appearance.
Lily bulbs can still be planted in pots this month. They can either be brought inside next spring to ‘force’ them into an early display or left outside to flower naturally in summer.
Harvest parsnips once they have had a touch of frost to improve their flavour.
Ponds and Wildlife
If straw bales or pads were used in your pond to reduce algae during the summer months, these can now be removed and added to the compost heap. Let them sit by the edge of the pond for 24 hours before composting, so that pond insects can find their way back into the water.
Birds are more noticeable at this time of the year venturing onto lawns searching for worms and fallen fruit. Installing a bird bath and feeders will encourage birds into your garden in winter.
Start preparing a bonfire with twigs and pruned branches, cover to keep dry and check for sheltering wildlife before lighting your bonfire.