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AUTUMN TOPICAL TIPS

Autumn is the fruiting season in the garden, when berries and seed heads are at their best, and the brilliant colours of autumn leaves change the character of the garden within a matter of days.

KEY JOBS FOR AUTUMN

Bringing tender plants under cover before the frost is the first priority. When an autumn is mild, it's the best time for planting new trees, shrubs and woody climbers; their roots establish well if the soil is still warm and moist.

EARLY AUTUMN (SEPTEMBER)

Clean the greenhouse; wash the glass, remove shading and check the heater. Remove old tomatoes and other fruits after harvesting.

 

Bring in frost-tender plants, such as fuchsias and pelargoniums; cut them back, pot them up and keep them frost free and in good light.

Remove summer when it has finished flowering and replace with with winter pansies and ornamental cabbages.

Plant spring bulbs and spring bedding, e.g. wallflowers, polyanthus and primulas.

Prepare soil for new lawns; sow grass seed.

Harvest pumpkins.

MID-AUTUMN (OCTOBER)

Plant deciduous trees, shrubs or climbers.

Lift tender summer bulbs, such as gladiolus, and dahlia tubers (allow frosts to blacken dahlia foliage before lifting); store in a frost-free shed.

Dig up potatoes and store in paper sacks in a frost-free shed.

Pick apples before the autumn gales. Store in a shed or the bottom of the fridge.

Lag the crowns of tree ferns with straw tied loosely with string.

Tidy perennials; cut back dead stems, but leave ornamental seed heads, for winter interest and to feed birds.

Lay new turf any time between now and April.

Rake lawn to remove 'thatch' and apply autumn lawn fertilizer.

Start compost heap.

Clear fallen leaves from lawn and rock garden.

Put net over fish pond.

LATE AUTUMN (NOVEMBER)

Plant tulips and hyacinths.

Clear fallen leaves from lawns, paths, flowerbeds and rock gardens.

Plant hedging or roses sold with bare roots.

After leaf fall, move any deciduous trees and shrubs that need it, provided they are not too big.

For more tips and advice see also the RHS Wisley Website December advice page