Autumn garden tasks

Plant life slows, leaves take on glorious colours and the nights turn much colder, but Autumn can be a busy time in the garden.

Depending on where in the world you are depends when Autumn starts.  In the UK the cooler evenings and windy conditions often arrive mid-to late September.

With daylight fast slipping away this is an ideal time for those Autumn garden tasks,  helping to keep you warm as you take advantage of the late afternoon light.

If you are planning a new herbaceous border or garden layout, then autumn can be an ideal time to get things under way.  The soil is still workable and warm enough for planting perennials, allowing them to establish before the cold winter freezes the soil.

autumn leaves

Foliage take centre stage in autumn

Many established perennials in the border will benefit from being lifted and divided at this time of year and ordering new plants, as bare root, tubers and bulbs is much cheaper than buying large pot grown specimens.

Leaf mould

Fallen leaves can be annoying, they look unsightly and if left lying around will create a haven for slugs, snails and fungal diseases.  However, they are a rich source of nutrition for the soil and take little effort to make into valuable leaf mould for mulches and soil conditioning.

Simply take a net bag (the kind used for storing onions) or a bin bag punched all over with with small holes, fill it with the fallen leaves and leave in a corner of the garden for a few months.

Autumn leaves can be added to the compost heap but being woody, they break down quite slowly, so should not be added in great quantity.

Protect tender plants

Think about the tender plants in your garden or those in pots, which will be harmed by frost or frozen soils.  Wrap pots in bubble wrap or transfer to a cold greenhouse when frost threatens.

Some perennials, once cut back, may benefit from a mulch of straw over the crown to protect from the colder nights.

Pace yourself during Autumn

Tackling the herbaceous border or creating new plots, often involves quite a bit of digging.  Don’t try to do it all at once, set yourself a few jobs and alternate between them to avoid doing too much of the same thing.

Consider getting professional help to prune trees, trim hedges, remove stumps or dig over large plots.

Make a careful plan of your plot and a rough planting scheme, marking plants you need to divide or move.  Digital cameras are useful for taking photographs to remind you what youplanted where.

Other Autumn garden tasks

  • Autumn is a great time to aerate your lawn, get rid of moss and re-seed bare patches.
  • Clear out the greenhouse and consider using it to grow winter salads.
  • Make sure fences, arbours and climbing plants are secure to avoid wind damage.
  • Clean and store garden tools, inspect power leads, drain fuel tanks on petrol powered equipment.

More information

Gardeners’ World – What to do in the garden this month.

RHS – Lawn autumn care

Gardens Illustrated – Some design solutions for your garden.

What is your Autumn garden routine?

Do you have a routine or list of jobs you do in your garden at this time of the year?  Let us know via the comments section below.

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