After a very pleasant September where summer seemed reluctant to leave us, we are now fully into autumn. As soon as we sweep up, the leaves are back again and the heady smell of rotting crab apples and mulching leaves and bark accompany us on our walks. The earth is soggy and heavy with fresh rain which makes digging laborious and hard work.

Where leaves have fallen then clear them up especially on pathways which could become quite hazardous. A good way to rot down your leaves for fertilizer is to stuff them into a plastic bag with pierced holes in. Make sure the leaves are wet or add water. This makes an excellent plant conditioner.

There is an increased chance of frost now and the winds will feel quite raw blowing the last of the leaves free. This is the month where most plants become dormant but there are still a few plants that bloom through the winter. This is still a good time of year to get in new trees, shrubs and roses before the cold winter. Protect tender new plants from frost. You can plant tulip bulbs now.

This is also a good month to do maintenance, clear out the shed and have a good tidy up. Get the lawn mower serviced and sharpened. Empty out all old pots and clean. Use a good garden disinfectant to clean everything you’re putting away for the winter as this will deter parasites and infection for next year. Clean the bird tray and bath because this can also harbour parasites. Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds but use a proper tray that’s high up to protect from cats and deter rats. If you’re going to have a bonfire, look out for hibernating hedge hogs.

This is a good time of year to repair fences, pergolas and trellises as there is less growth on them. It’s easier to treat them now too.

 On most deciduous trees now is a good time to prune away dead, diseased and damaged wood. Be very careful with cutting too much from your trees as over pruning weakens growth. Some trees bleed when pruned, that is give off a lot of sap so try to be economic with cutting unless your garden is over grown.

It is still possible to lay turf in this month unless the ground is frozen. Try to keep off the lawn if it becomes very wet or frozen as this damages the grass.

Remove pumps from ponds and clean out the filters. Cut the growth around the pond and remove fallen leaves and debris from the pond as this will rot and become toxic for the fish.

Even though the nights are drawing right in now with the clocks going back and it’s definitely chilly, there is still plenty to do. Enjoy the fireworks and remember to keep all pets indoors.

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