The October garden

Autumn colour doesn't last long, but those leaves can be valuable in your garden

Autumn colour doesn’t last long, but those leaves can be valuable in your garden

Bright October days are a good time to get out there and make some changes in your garden. The leaves are changing colour on many trees and shrubs now and, along with bright berries, they make autumn a magical time to be outdoors.

If you don’t have autumn colour in your own garden, look around locally for ideas of trees and shrubs that grow well. When the leaves fall to the ground, rake them up periodically from lawns and borders. Too thick a layer of leaves on lawns can kill the grass and if allowed to smother herbaceous perennials, they can lead to the damp conditions that encourage slugs and snails. The leaves collected can either be added to your compost heap or can be stored separately in a heap or bags to make leafmould, which is an excellent material to mulch your garden. Leaves take about 2 years to rot down to produce leafmould, so you need somewhere out of the way where you can leave them undisturbed.

  • This is an ideal time to plant container-grown hardy climbers such as clematis.

  • If you didn’t plant spring bulbs last month, there is still time. Tulip bulbs can also be planted from the end of October.

  • Cut down perennials as they finish flowering to keep the garden tidy, unless they have attractive seedheads that can be left to overwinter. Large clumps of perennials can also be divided now.

  • If you need to move any evergreen shrubs, now is the best time to do it.

  • Fungal diseases such as mildew can be a problem in autumn. Remove diseased material from your garden and don’t put it in your compost bin where spores can linger to cause future outbreaks. Put it in your local authority green waste recycling bin as local authority composting reaches higher temperatures than we can achieve at home, killing the disease spores.

Disclaimer: The information given in this blog is very general and results can be affected by many kinds of local conditions, such as weather, soil, aspect, etc. The author therefore does not accept responsibility for any loss or failure as a result of following any suggestions given.

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