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It’s im­por­tant to keep the gar­den healthy now, says Ruth

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

IDON’T know about you, but at this time of year all I want to do is snug­gle down in the warmth with a good book or de­cent TV se­ries and ig­nore the deep­en­ing cold and wet out­side. I don’t have that lux­ury, how­ever, be­cause the gar­den is call­ing and there are still jobs to be done.

Many au­tumn tasks are to do with tidy­ing and prun­ing. One of my main an­nual ones is cut­ting back a ma­ture weep­ing pear (Pyrus sali­ci­fo­lia ‘Pen­dula’) that turns into a beau­ti­ful, sil­ver-green foun­tain of fo­liage in sum­mer.

Prun­ing keeps it shapely and ro­bust and also al­lows more light through to the lit­tle cy­cla­men now flow­er­ing un­derneath.

If you com­post your tree cut­tings, break them up into small pieces and turn your com­post reg­u­larly to ac­cel­er­ate the break­ing-down process.

Trees and shrubs fea­ture heav­ily at this time of year. Prun­ing, mov­ing and plant­ing can all be done now.

One of the most im­por­tant jobs if you have fruit trees is to place sticky bands or bar­rier grease around their trunks. This should be done by the end of this month, be­fore adult moths start to emerge in Novem­ber.

The in­sects you are guard­ing against are win­ter moths, in­clud­ing the mot­tled um­ber and March moth, whose cater­pil­lars can cause im­mense dam­age to leaf shoots, blos­som and fruitlets. Grease bands and sticky traps at­tached to tree trunks stop adult fe­male moths, which are win­g­less, from climb­ing the trees dur­ing win­ter and early spring and lay­ing their eggs. Keep the bands sticky and free of de­bris from now un­til April when the adults die off. Sticky bands and pots of grease are widely avail­able from gar­den cen­tres and on­line.

Tidy up de­cid­u­ous trees that have grown out of shape

Keep turn­ing com­post to keep it healthy

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