Gardening in Autumn
The days are notably shorter in early autumn compared to late summer – autumn tends to be cooler and windier. If you have a veg or fruit patch, you’ll be busy harvesting the crops this time of year, even though there isn’t much to do in your ornamental garden.
It’s also the time to go outside and begin planting spring-flowering bulbs for the following year. Additionally, you can gather seeds for additional colour for next spring and summer. While it’s still warm, take advantage of the late summer weather and do some maintenance gardening.
Gardening tasks at this time of the year include digging up the remaining potatoes if you’re growing them. Clean out greenhouses and cold frames ready for use when the weather turns cold—netting ponds to spot leaf fall clogging up your pond. Cover leafy veg with bird-proof netting if you want to keep your crop.
Right now, the most important part of gardening is preparing for winter, where Plant Turf comes in handy.
Most importantly, plant spring bulbs to enjoy next year. As for the lawn, the rule is to mow less frequently; if your grass needs a boost, use an autumn lawn feed. Do this after scarifying and aerating, but before putting a top treatment, we spoke about this last month.
Potassium and phosphorus are abundant in autumnal feed, which promotes hardiness and root development. Please don’t feed your plants with summer feed that has been sitting around since it contains too much nitrogen, which encourages growth susceptible to disease at this time of year.
Autumn, particularly late September or early October, is a great time to plant a new lawn. Landscaping in Kent is an art; if you’re unsure what you’re doing, Plant Turf can help you should you want to install an artificial lawn. If you’re unsure, read more about Turf vs. Artificial Grass here.
In the meantime, prepare your ground for a new lawn by forking over, weeding, levelling, and softly firming the earth preparing the ground. By carrying out this task a few weeks beforehand, you give the soil time to settle and provide an even surface for planting or laying turf.
Now is the perfect time to sow a new lawn on the prepared ground because the turf will have plenty of time to establish itself over the autumn into the early winter. Place turf on the prepared soil and water it frequently so that it takes root. Remember to stay off freshly installed turf for a few weeks to allow the new roots to take.
If you’re repairing your lawn, now is the time to plant wildflower plugs on already-existing lawns or sow a wildflower meadow if you want a complete change. Looking after your lawn so it looks good in the autumn is less maintenance than in the summer months, but it’s still hard work.
A brown-tinged lawn is usually that way because of drought and will naturally regreen when autumn rains and cooler temperatures arrive, usually at the end of the month. Read more here.
If you’re mourning summer, now is the time to plant some winter colour in the style of hardy shrubs. Azaleas and Echinacea are a great choice as they will provide shade of colour until January or February – if you’re lucky.
Azaleas are a delightful bloom from the Rhododendron family and can ignite passion in even the most stoic gardeners. Hailing from the scenic hillsides of Asia and North America, they have been cultivated into a kaleidoscope of colours and shapes, coveted by garden enthusiasts for their vivid displays.
Azaleas are perennial flowering shrubs that flower reliably yearly and usually get bigger each time. They have brightly coloured blooms that range from bright pink to orange and are easy to care for.
Echinacea is another hardy perennial that survives freezing winters. Plants are dormant in early winter and re-emerge in spring, offering green coverage from November to March and blooms from then on. If you plant Echinacea now, you can enjoy the last of the colour and, as a bonus, use the dead heads to make a herbal brew that can ward off winter illness.
You can now plant and relocate plants and trees without worrying too much about their survival and establishment, as they will have had the entire winter to settle in; shrubs planted now will get off to a flying start the following spring.
Gardening tasks now are all about preparing for next spring. Trim evergreens and hedges to ensure they are in shape for winter. This tip is handy for fast-growing hedges such as Cuprocyparis Leylandii or plain old Leylandii to you and me.
Remember to cut your hedges slightly narrower at the top than the base, making them less liable to winter weather damage and stopping the hedge from shading itself out at the bottom, which is unsightly and can lead to dead areas.
Harvesting seed is fun and, as an added bonus, can save you money, but it takes some planning. If you decide to take on this task, you must keep an eye on your plants as seedheads can ripen quickly and collecting the seeds before they are dispersed is vital.
- Wait for a dry day when the seedheads are ripe but have not yet opened.
- Look for a colour change from green to brown, black, or red.
- Pick the seedheads and dry them on a greenhouse bench, warm windowsill, or airing cupboard. If the pods or capsules don’t open when dry, gently squeeze them open to release the seeds.
- For fleshy fruits and berries, push them through them in a fine sieve and rinse away the fruit pulp under the cold water tap.
- Leave the seed dry on an absorbent towel for a few days. If the seedheads are prone to exploding, place a bag over them and shake them, or remove them on their stems and place them in a labelled paper bag.
Some seeds, such as hellebores (the buttercup family), are best sown straight away as their viability reduces significantly with storage. However, sowing is best delayed until spring next year for many species. Your remaining seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place until you can use them early next year.
The RHS details seed storage; you can read it all here.
Looking after your garden is hard work, and you may find it’s too much. If you’re feeling overwhelmed going into autumn and winter, don’t worry because there are several things you can do.
Ask for help; our knowledgeable team at Planet Turf can sort your garden quickly and prepare it for winter. Click the link to find out more.
We specialise in garden maintenance and lawn repairs and replacements in Kent. We are the team to call if you need landscaping in Dartford or anywhere in the Garden of England.
Should you decide to replace your grass with an artificial lawn, we can do that for you in time for winter. Read more about turf vs. artificial grass here. Artificial lawns are the no-nonsense answer to your lawn, but they don’t suit everyone or every garden.
Revamping your lawn in Autumn to prepare for winter gives it time to recover, settle and grow before the cold weather sets in. Whether you’re looking for some help on a weekly or monthly basis or to completely transformation your garden – landscaping in Kent is our business!
Let Planet Turf look after you and your garden, allowing you to enjoy the rest of the year stress-free because gardening at this time of the year is not for everyone. So sit back and watch the experts look after your garden while you reap the rewards.