Anyone who’s tried to fix up or add to their garden in the winter months will know how hard it can be to get outdoor jobs done in the cold.
Aside from the unpleasantness of freezing fingers and relentless rain, there’s also the issue of hard soil, decreased insect life, and hibernating plants.
So, we thought we’d share the jobs to get done this autumn to prep your garden perfectly for the cold months ahead.
1) Consider scarifying your lawn
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) recommends scarifying your lawn, or raking it to remove moss, grass, and other debris, in autumn. This helps to ensure water penetrates through to the soil and reduces the change of fungal problems. If you’re unsure whether or not your garden needs scarification, look down at your grass; if you can’t see any soil beneath the blades, you might want to give the practice a go. “A lawn can only really take this brutal treatment in autumn, when it should recover well,” says the RHS.
2) Fill in any bare areas
As we said earlier, it can be hard to maintain ― never mind add to ― your garden in the cold winter. So planting up the plainer parts of your lawn is best done before it gets too cold. Whether it’s due to pest damage or just plain forgetfulness, seed empty areas of turf now for a fuller garden in spring ― autumn’s cool, damp weather is the perfect time for planting.
3) Cut your flower borders
Now’s a good time to deadhead flowers for continued growth in autumn and a healthier return in spring. While some plants, like sedum, monarda, alliums, rudbeckia, Jerusalem sage and echinacea, along with most ornamental grasses, can keep their flowers, consider removing the tops of all your border flowers to keep them strong over the winter. Check the advice for your specific plant, of course; fuchsia might need cutting down almost to the ground, for instance.
4) Prune, prune, prune
Whether it’s fruit trees, rosemary bushes, or lavender, now’s a great time to (literally) cut back. Removing dead, dying, or overgrown branches and flowers will help to keep your plants healthy and ensure easier growth in the next year.
5) Fix any bumps in your garden
Cutting H-shape slits on any small humps in your garden, peeling back the turf, and adding or taking away soil to address the unevenness sounds extreme. That’s because it is, so the job is best done in autumn, when the garden has time to repair itself.
The work of a gardener is never done, but finishing these five jobs before we find ourselves in winter should at least make it a little easier.