Apples are ripe when windfalls appear under the tree or when the fruit easily twists off the twigs. While picking check the branches for ‘Brown Rot’, a disease that attacks apples, plums and pears turning them into speckled brown ‘mummies’. If left on the branches they infect neighbouring fruits and the disease spreads to the branches.
If regularly deadheaded, dahlias have months of flower left in them yet. Deadheading though takes ‘a good eye’ as the spent seedpods look just like new buds except with slightly pointed ends.
Prune over-grown shrubs and trees, but maintain a natural, graceful habit by thinning as opposed to shearing back the branches to all the same length. Pruning while in leaf is fine as you can clearly differentiate between weak and strong growth, but just remember that the leaves add weight so don’t cut off more than you can safely hold in one go.
Pep up your lawn by scarifying and aerating the surface, i.e. giving it a good rake and pricking over with a garden fork to remove grass-chocking ‘thatch’ and let air into the soil. It’s also the ideal time to sow a completely new lawn and repair bare patches by ‘over-sowing’ with fresh seed. If starting from scratch concentrate on levelling and firming the soil before sowing. It’s worth taking the time to do this properly as removing bumps and dips once the turf has established is very time consuming.