Finds the tools to do the job

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

THE leaves are start­ing to fall, the lawn needs re­ju­ve­nat­ing, the beds could do with a tidy-up, and over­crowded plants can be lifted and di­vided.

Au­tumn is po­ten­tially a busy time in the gar­den so it’s es­sen­tial to have the right tools for the job to help make the sea­son rel­a­tively pain-free.

There are some tools which will make your life eas­ier in au­tumn and if you invest in the best now, you will ap­pre­ci­ate their qual­ity in years to come. Here are some es­sen­tial tools for par­tic­u­lar jobs:

Trim­ming and prun­ing: Se­ca­teurs: It’s worth tidy­ing up shrubs in beds and bor­ders at this time of year, cut­ting out old or dis­eased wood to make way for new growth in the spring. There’s a wealth of se­ca­teurs on the mar­ket but I would invest in a good qual­ity pair that will last for years, if you look after them. Felco no 6 se­ca­teurs are ideal for small hands, with blades made from high qual­ity car­bon steel while the han­dles are made from forged alu­minium al­loy (£59.99) www.felco.com and Wye­vale Gar­den Cen­tres. Fiskars award-win­ning Quantum B100 by­pass se­ca­teurs (£65) are also a good prod­uct, avail­able na­tion­wide in gar­den cen­tres, DIY stores and on­line. Go to www.fiskars.co.uk

Clear­ing leaves: It’s im­por­tant to clear leaves from the lawn be­cause they can smother and weaken grass roots, re­duc­ing their oxy­gen in­take, and can har­bour pests and dis­eases which may re-in­fect plants in later years. Any leaves which have set­tled in the crown of plants should also be re­moved, although those ly­ing on the soil in beds and bor­ders can be left to de­com­pose. There are many rakes on the mar­ket but among the best is the Fiskars Gar­den Light Leaf Rake, avail­able in medium or large, which has a tough plas­tic head and an er­gonom­i­cally de­signed light­weight har­dened alu­minium shaft and com­fort­able soft grip han­dle. (RRP 29.99. Avail­able na­tion­wide at DIY stores, gar­den cen­tres and on­line. Go to www.fiskars.co.uk). If you want me­chan­i­cal help, try a Bosch ALS 2500 gar­den vac­uum to col­lect the leaves from the pa­tio and shred them – tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the ma­chine’s 1:10 shred­ding ra­dio. (RRP £79.99) www.bosch-gar­den.com/

Lawn care: Spring­tine rakes: Th­ese are per­fect tools for re­mov­ing thatch and moss from the lawn in both au­tumn and spring, with­out dam­ag­ing ex­ist­ing grass. Wolf­Garten’s spring­tine rake (£29.99 – han­dles sep­a­rate) www.wolf­gar­ten­tools.co.uk, and through lead­ing gar­den cen­tres, is a good bet from its ‘multi change’ range, a se­lec­tion of tool heads which fit ev­ery han­dle. Al­ter­na­tively you can buy elec­tric scar­i­fiers, which are use­ful if you have a large lawn, or push­able man­ual ver­sions. How­ever, some of them can also rip up the grass so be care­ful which one you choose. Which? Gar­den­ing found the Al-Ko Com­bi­care 32VLE Com­fort Lawn Rake/ Scar­i­fier (£169) avail­able www.al-ko. com or from Al-Ko deal­ers, to be its best buy in tests, com­plete with swap­ping cylin­ders, height adjustment and col­lec­tion bag.

Au­tumn and win­ter dig­ging: Dig­ging in or­ganic mat­ter to en­rich your soil is one of the pri­mary jobs in au­tumn, so the ground is ready for plant­ing in spring – and a good gar­den fork is per­fect for this job. Buy the best qual­ity one you can, as so many cheaper ver­sions end up with prongs bend­ing or even snap­ping un­der duress. You’ll also need a fork to lift plants which you want to move or di­vide in au­tumn. Among the best is the made-in-UK Bull­dog clas­sic premier gar­den fork, which has a head made from a sin­gle piece of steel and an ash shaft and han­dle and comes with a lifetime guar­an­tee. (RRP £50.67) or the smaller, lighter shrub­bery fork (RRP 49.74) both avail­able from www. qual­i­ty­gar­den­tools.com

Plant bulbs. Use a hand trowel and fork, but bulb planters lift a core of soil, en­abling you to plant bulbs quickly and are use­ful in soil that holds to­gether well but is not too heavy. Bur­gon & Ball’s Long Han­dled Bulb Planter was a as fi­nal­ist for RHS Chelsea Gar­den Prod­uct of the year 2014. (RRP £29.95) avail­able from www.burg­onand­ball.com and many lead­ing gar­den cen­tres.

Wolf-Garten spring­tine rake

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