Au­tumn is the time to put your gar­den safely to bed for the win­ter

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - ADVERTISIN­G FEATURE -

AU­TUMN, the sea­son of mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness is the time to put your gar­den safely to bed for the win­ter, en­sur­ing that when spring comes around again, you won’t be over­whelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done.

Rak­ing leaves, tidy­ing and cut­ting back plants and stor­ing away fur­ni­ture, tools and pots are among the nec­es­sary tasks at this time of year, as the nights draw in and the days be­come colder.

Au­tumn is a very good time for trans­plant­ing work be­cause the soil is softer and has suf­fi­cient mois­ture from rain show­ers. It is also warm from the sum­mer, pro­vid­ing plants with the right en­vi­ron­ment to get used to their new po­si­tion and form new roots.

New plants can also be planted at this time of year, giv­ing the last chance to bring some colour into your gar­den be­fore win­ter takes ev­ery­thing in its icy grasp. Visit your lo­cal gar­den cen­tre for an ar­ray of au­tum­nal plants in­clud­ing late sea­son hang­ing bas­kets and win­dow boxes that will brighten up your bor­ders, pa­tio or deck­ing and off­set the drea­ri­ness of frosty morn­ings and damp days.

Spring flow­er­ing bulbs can also be planted now so that their flow­ers ger­mi­nate from the soil at the right time in spring to sur­prise you with a blaze of colour. The shops are cur­rently filled with spring bulbs of ev­ery va­ri­ety.

Root ball plants and ma­ture spec­i­men trees and shrubs are best planted in the dor­mant sea­son be­tween late au­tumn and late win­ter.

It’s also the time to cut back herba­ceous peren­ni­als, bushes and shrubs. When shrubs go yel­low, when their stems bend to­wards the ground or they start to seed, they need to be cut back, as the plants are now draw­ing their sap back into the roots. If they are not cut down, they may de­cay.

Es­tab­lished bushes and shrubs can be cut to ap­prox­i­mately a quar­ter of their size, de­pend­ing on the type of plant - your gar­den cen­tre will give you ad­vice if you need it.

Hedges should be pruned for the last time in au­tumn to pre­vent de­cay­ing if damp ac­cu­mu­lates. Cut de­cid­u­ous hedges with­out cre­at­ing holes as they will not grow back over the win­ter and they may look very bare.

Con­tinue to dead head herba­ceous plants such as dahlias to en­cour­age flow­er­ing well into au­tumn. Give a cou­ple of liq­uid feeds to strengthen the plants’ en­ergy lev­els.

Any leaves ly­ing on the hedge should be re­moved as the hedge will not get enough fresh air and light and could rot.

Don’t for­get your lawn which will may still need cut­ting for sev­eral more weeks well into Novem­ber de­pend­ing on the weather. In Ire­land, the moist and mild con­di­tions mean that the grass sea­son can be a month longer than the gar­den­ing books ad­vise. Don’t put the cover on the lawn mower just yet.

Wet con­di­tions, low tem­per­a­tures and weak sun­shine can af­fect the lawn which

may need some at­ten­tion be­fore the re­ally cold spell be­gins.

When leaves fall, they should be cleared from the lawn on a reg­u­lar ba­sis as they will quickly turn to mush and be­come un­sightly.

For the last cut, make sure that the grass is not cut shorter than 5 cm as longer grass can make bet­ter use of less sun­light, en­sur­ing re­sis­tance against weeds and moss. Us­ing an au­tumn fer­tiliser is also rec­om­mended.

If you have a moss prob­lem, you can start treat­ing it now with sul­phate of iron which will blacken the moss and re­quire rak­ing out af­ter­wards.

Seed col­lect­ing can also be done - herba­ceious plants like fox­gloves will self seed but if you want to con­trol their spread, re­move seed heads and dry them out for sow­ing later.

Even if it rains, you should still reg­u­larly wa­ter plans in pots. Liq­uid feed bed­ding plants to stop them look­ing tired and en­cour­age them to pro­duce flow­ers for an­other while.

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