7 garden jobs not to ‘forget’ before autumn to ‘enjoy a second flush of colour’
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Maintaining a garden all year round can take a lot of effort, but the returns are always more than worth it. With effective planning and preparation, it’s much easier to adapt and tackle all and any seasonal challenges. The more mundane and laborious tasks can even become more enjoyable and less daunting when you have more time on your hands to complete them.
William Mitchell from Sutton Manor Nursey said: “Plants can be extremely vulnerable in times when the seasons are rapidly changing.
“This is because the plants have become used to the slightly more predictable and warmer weather that we have had over the spring/summer months.”
This makes for the perfect time to start preparing your garden for the classic cold British weather, and here are the key tasks not to forget.
Deadhead the shrubs
Deadheading is pivotal for optimum plant health as it helps them produce new, fresh flowers instead of expending energy on producing seeds – which can make them much less hardy and much more prone to death.
Shrubs are one of the more important plants to deadhead now to help extend flowering into early autumn.
The Royal Horticultural Society advises focusing on roses, as well as rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, lilacs and tree peonies.
There are several ways you can do this, but it can be as easy as using your fingers and thumbs. Simply pinch off the faded blooms, but aim to remove the flower with its stalk to ensure a more tidy appearance.
Secateurs, scissors, or a knife work just as well, and are much more effective while taming the tougher or more stringy stems.
Gardening expert Rebecca Baron told Country Living: “Deadheading roses will encourage continuing bloom, and mean you can enjoy a second flush of colour in your garden, as summer flowers begin to die.”
Protect new trees and plants
Newer trees and plants are unsurprisingly much more vulnerable and fragile to the older, hardy shrubs, which means they’ll need more care and attention during this period.
Mr Mitchell said: “The best way to protect young trees is by purchasing a special tree wrap. The tree wrap should then be wrapped around the trunk and branches of the tree.
“You would initially think that the intention of the tree wrap would be to keep the tree warm in the winter, however, this is not true. Surprisingly, the purpose of the tree wrap is the complete opposite. It is to keep the tree cool.”
When the trees lose their leaves during autumn, they become more susceptible to damage from sunlight. The tree wrap can work as a protective layer from the sun, while also helping the trees to brave the harsher winds and frosts typical for this time of year.
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However, experts at Love Property advised: “Don’t forget to remove the wrapping from your plants when the weather gets a bit milder to stop them from sweating and rotting, then replace it when the temperature takes a tumble again.”
Prune the perennials
Now’s a good time to prune the perennials for a tidier garden over the colder months.
These plants will now be the main event rather than the seasonal annuals, so it’s important to make sure they’re in a good position to thrive and brave the more turbulent weather.
Not only will this make the garden look tidier, but it can also prevent widespread seeding that when left, can end up taking over your garden.
De-weed the lawn
Weeds are one of the biggest nuisances to any garden, but the heat and sunlight during summer can send their growth rate through the roof before autumn.
Mr Mitchell said: “It is recommended that before the start of the autumn/winter months you do a full de-weeding of your garden to be ready for the winter.
“If you fail to do this then you may have a mammoth de-weeding job when spring comes around again. You could also have many dead plants that have been killed by the spreading of weeds.”
Cover up outdoor furniture
To prevent damage to outdoor furniture from weathering, it’s important not to forget to cover up the items you don’t use – but perhaps save this one for the very end of summer.
Mr Mitchell said: “The wet and cold weather can cause deterioration to your furniture, which can get even worse as the harsh winter months go on.
“Simply covering it with a waterproof cover will hugely reduce the chance of damage and help your furniture to look perfect when it comes to bringing it out again next spring.”
Cover, tidy, and top up the pond
If you have a pond, it’s important to start taming this area now, too.
Trim back some of the more unruly pond plants and scoop out the dead leaves and debris floating.
Cover up the water with new netting before autumn hits to prevent any new leaves from falling in, as this can cause a sludge of rotting leaves at the bottom, which can cause bacteria and diseases that might harm the wildlife.
Raise plant pots off the ground
Britain isn’t typically short of rainfall during the autumn months, making it imperative to elevate your plant pots off the ground to prevent them from soaking in puddles.
Experts at Love Property said: “Leaving containers on the terrace increases the chances of your prized blooms getting waterlogged when the next storm sweeps in.”
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