Garden Tasks for Autumn

Garden Tasks for Autumn

The hot and dry conditions are definitely causing the weeds, lawn and vegetation growth to slow down.  We are still watering everything as much as possible as the warmer temperatures and windy days are drying the soil out quickly.  I’ve noticed a number of established trees looking a little stressed from drought like conditions we have experienced lately.  In between these hot days we have also had  a few major summer storms with extremely strong winds that have caused a lot of damage, especially in established trees and hedges.

Here are a few tips to deal with those fallen limbs.

-Remove any visible broken branches.

-Where branches have broken, re – cut correctly so that it’s a clean cut on an angle and at the branch collar.

-The biggest issue is safety eg the limbs that are broken and are left hanging in the canopy.  Best to observe the tree so even if they are too high to remove you are aware they are a risk of falling.

-Hedges/ smaller shrubs I would treat in the same way. An overall light prune will help encourage more new growth to fill in gaps.

Continue to pick our dead head Dahlias and Zinnias to promote more flowering.

As we hopefully have some cooler days, spread organic animal manure fertiliser just before rain.

Cut back dead flowers on all perennials such as Phlomis, Agapanthus and Canna Lilies.

You can also start dividing perennials and clumping plants such as  Agapanthus, Society Garlic, Alchillea 

Sow Sweet Peas seed on or around St Patrick’s Day in March.

Plan for upcoming planting season (See following blog post)

Start preparing beds for the planting season.

Take semi  hardwood cuttings from many evergreens such as Bay Trees, Elaeagnus, Westringia, Buxus 

Laying lawn – you still have time to lay or seed any lawn areas. The key to laying lawn is preparing the areas first. Then keep the area moist. Seed cannot dry out.

Plan your spring flowering bulbs planting and start sourcing where you will purchase yours from. I’m definitely going to plant some double flowering Daffodils.  For a comprehensive list of information about planting bulbs go to my blog post here

In the veggie garden the summer crops are starting to look a bit tired and need to be ripped out.  It can be hard to do this if they are still fruiting, however too much dead, decaying foliage can attract pests and diseases.  I quite often will just cut the veggies off at ground level and leave the roots in the ground to decompose which will add more nutrients to the soil.  Start planting out your cool season crops like broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, pak choy, kale, beetroot, peas, spring onion, turnip, swede, Asian greens, artichoke and carrots

I will also be planting out my garlic – try to source locally grown bulb

I am due to add a fresh patch of strawberries plants to the veggie patch as its been a few years since I’ve added new plants. Ideally, They should have been planted out every 3 to 4 years. I will improve the organic matter in the soil with some composted cow manure.  

Fertilise all of your citrus well.  I will also check all of the old fruit is off the trees and out of garden beds.

Complete a tidy and light maintenance prune on your roses (see link here for all the info you will need)

Make a plan for fertilising all of your gardens and lawn areas in late March or early April. Work out which fertiliser will be best for your plants and lawn. Calculate how much you need and where to buy it from. I would normally recommend to use an organic composted animal manure blend. Something like Yates Organic Dynamic Lifter or Rooster Booster. Ideally you should water your garden before fertilising and ideally you have it spread before a nice shower of rain hits. Using a soluble fertiliser like Eco Seaweed on the garden will also give your plants a good Autumnal boost.

After fertilising, aim to mulch the garden areas. I always think of mulching in autumn as the time to put a nice thick layered blanket over your garden, so it is tucked in tight for the cooler winter months that are coming. Now early in the season you can start sourcing what mulch to use and how much you need.

Glenice Buck