This Month in the Garden - October
This Month in the Garden - October
October sees trees look glorious with their leaves changing colour - remember that you can make a wonderful leafmould from fallen leaves. The weather may suddenly change, and the threat of the first frosts are not far off.
Take hardwood cuttings of plants such as Rosa, Cotinus, Salix and Forsythia.
Check softwood and semi-ripe cuttings taken earlier in the season. They may need potting on, or selective removal of individual plants that have succumbed to rots (in order to prevent cross-infection).
Berries, fruits and seeds can be gathered from trees and shrubs, once ripe, for immediate sowing. Colutea (bladder senna), Laburnum, Morus (mulberry) and Sorbus (rowan) are all suitable examples.
October is an ideal time for moving and planting trees, shrubs and climbers, as well as for hedge planting. The ground still has some of the summer warmth to aid roots establishing.
Spring bulbs can also still be planted for colourful displays next year.
Trim deciduous hedges to keep them looking tidy over the winter.
Prune bush roses now, if not done already, as reducing their height will prevent wind rock. These plants are generally shallow-rooted and can become loose in the soil if buffeted by strong winds.
Climbing roses should be pruned now if not done last month.
Shrubs normally pruned hard in the spring such as Buddleia David, Cornus Alba, and Lavatera, can be cut back by half now to prevent wind rock and to neaten their appearance.
Regular mowing stops this month, and the cutting height should be raised to a minimum 2cm (1in) for the last cut or two.
After the long, dry and very hot summer it’s time to start preparing your lawn for the seasons ahead with some much needed autumn lawn care. The treatments required depend greatly on the wear and tear it has undergone in the summer months.
Scarifying is the process of raking the lawn to reduce the layers of thatch. Thatch is a collection of debris, dead grass and old moss that can prevent water and fertiliser from penetrating the roots of the grass. A lawn scarifier, sometimes referred to as a dethatcher can be used or a simple garden rake is the most popular alternative.
Aeration is a cornerstone to having well maintained lawn. The process of aerating is to allow for more air (and nutrients including water) to get to the grass roots. Aeration will also help your lawn survive through more extreme conditions such as waterlogging or drought and will aid drainage so there will be less moss. This can be done with a spike aerator or a hollow tine aerator.
Apply a top dressing to improve soil structure and encourage strong root development. After scarifying and spiking spread the dressing evenly over the surface of your lawn at two litres per sq.m. Then brush firmly into the surface using a stiff broom or the back of a rake to ensure even application and then water well. For best results top dress when the lawn is dry.
Once your lawn is treated it is important to get some lawn feed down to ensure that the roots are still growing strong throughout the winter. Autumn lawn fertiliser is high in potash and phosphates which will better protect the grass from frost and icy conditions. High nitrogen spring/summer feeds will encourage top growth which is soft and easily damaged by frosts which is not ideal for autumn lawn feeding.
Evergreen Autumn Lawncare toughens up the grass to help it withstand harsh winter weather. The added seaweed (sourced from sustainable resources) aids in root establishment and gives you a healthy lawn, whilst the iron sulphate works to control autumn moss. Results are quick – within a week the moss starts to die and after two weeks the dead moss should be raked out thoroughly. Apply between early September and mid November when weather is fair, the soil moist and the grass dry and frost free. These products are best applied using a lawn spreader to ensure even application over your lawn.
When the weather is dry rake fallen leaves and remove as they would provide habitable shelter for garden pests as well as suffocate the lawn which weakens the grass. The leaves can be used to make leaf mould which is a wonderful soil conditioner that can be used for potting or mulching.
Avoid walking on the lawn when possible during autumn and winter.
Please ask a member of our trained staff if you require further assistance.
Plant asparagus, garlic, onion and shallot sets.
Sow hardy peas and peas for shoots in salads, hardy lettuce, broad beans, cabbages, cauliflower, Mizuna, Pak choi, Rocket, Landcress, Perpetual spinach, Mustard leaf, Sorrel and Endive.
Divide and replant perennial herbs.
Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts. Pumpkins will be ready for harvesting towards the end of the month. When cutting your ripe pumpkins and squash off the plants for storing over winter, leave a few inches of stalk still attached – this helps prevent the crown rotting in storage so the fruits last longer. Don’t worry if you haven’t grown any pumpkins this year as we have plenty available to purchase. Click here to find out more about our locally grown pumpkins, half term spooky train rides and our fun Halloween Trail around the Garden Centre.
Clear away tender crops once the harvest slows and add them to the compost bin.
Overwintering green manures such as Winter tares, grazing rye and Italian ryegrass can be sown once the area is cleared and will produce abundant material by April.
If the weather is dry, keep watering early-flowering shrubs such as camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas so that flower buds are initiated successfully for blooms next spring. Use recycled or stored rainwater wherever possible.
Check tree ties and stakes before winter gales cause damage.
Place fallen leaves on the compost heap or into separate pens for rotting down into leafmould. Shredding leaves first with a shredder or mower will help them break down quicker.
Cut back perennials that have died down.
Check greenhouse heaters are in working order.
Move tender plants, including aquatic ones into the greenhouse before the first frosts arrive. Protect plants that are too large to move with horticultural fleece and insulate pots with bubble wrap.
Containers and baskets can now be replaced with winter bedding such as cyclamen and pansies. Plant your own from our range of autumn/winter bedding plant, or purchase from our ready made selections.
The best time to dig is from October through December, when the soil is free of frost and can be left to overwinter. From mid-winter until early spring the ground is frequently wet or frozen and difficult to work with. Heavy soil must never be dug when it’s wet as this can damage the soil structure and lead to poor aeration and drainage. Digging the soil is essential for good plant growth. If the soil condition is poor organic matter can be added at the same time as digging.
Read our essential guide to scarifying and learn how to breathe new life into your lawn
The question is often asked as to when to prune fruit trees to get the best from them. The answer depends on what fruit tree you are looking to cut back and what you are aiming to achieve.
With the first breath of summer fading, the question is now asked ‘What to plant in August’? There is still plenty to do before the onset of autumn.
Read our handy guide and learn how to maximise the flowering season of your plants and encourage new healthy growth.
Learn how to keep your houseplants alive while you're on holiday. Our guide is full of handy tips to help you ensure you come home to happy plants.
Read our Guide to watering blog to find out all you need to know to keep your plants and borders looking at their best throughout the seasons.
Sweet peas are a traditional cottage garden favourite. Their wonderfully fragrant blooms fill the air either in the garden or in the home when used as cut flowers. The great thing about sweet peas is the more the pick, the blooms you will get!
Read our blog to find our everything you need to know to keep your orchids in tip top condition.
Topiary is the art of training plants into distinct shapes and forms and has been used historically in many garden styles from early Roman times. Levens Hall in Kendal, Cumbria dates back to the 1690’s and is the home to the world’s oldest topiary gardens with it’s collection of ancient box and yew trees.