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September garden tips 2018

Garden tips for September


 

As summer progresses in to autumn, the weather will be cooler and gustier. The days are also getting shorter so make the most of your garden while you can.

Continue to deadhead, water and feed hanging baskets to prolong flowering until mid-autumn.

Continue to deadhead plants such as dahlias, delphiniums, roses and penstemons to prolong the display.

Water autumn-flowering asters regularly to deter mildew.

Cut back perennials that are fading and dying down.

To improve flowering and overall shape for next year, divide any overgrown or tired looking clumps of alpines and herbaceous perennials.

Clear dead leaves as soon as they start to fall, rotting leaves can be a source of disease in the garden.

Spring bedding, such as pansies, wallflowers and sweet Williams can be planted now.

Now is a good time to plant new perennials, the soil is still warm to encourage good root growth and there is usually enough rain to ensure plants don’t dry out.

To ensure that next year’s buds develop well Camellias and Rhododendrons need to be kept well watered.

In the vegetable garden

Lift main crop potatoes and allow to dry before storing in a dark, cool, frost-free shed or garage.

To make the most of French and runner beans keep watering them. Harvest little and often to prevent them setting seed.

Dig up carrots to eat at their best.

When beans and peas have finished cropping cut the plant at ground level, leaving the roots in the soil. Future crops will benefit as the nitrogen is slowly released into the soil as the roots break down.

Plant onion and shallot sets in a sunny spot, with the tip just showing above the soil.

Start sowing hardy varieties of broad beans and peas for early crops next year.

In the fruit garden

Pick rotting fruits off your pear, apple and plum trees. They will spread disease if left on the tree.

Harvest apples and pears when fruit can be twisted easily from the stems.

Complete summer pruning of apple trees, to encourage good fruiting for next year.

Tidy strawberry plants and clear away any used straw, as this will harbour pests and diseases over winter.

Pick plums. If you have more than you need freeze them by washing, halving and stoning them, then laying them out on a tray in the freezer. Once frozen, pack them into freezer bags.

In the greenhouse

Clean out your greenhouse to reduce the risk of pests and diseases next year.

Remove the shading from your greenhouse towards the end of the month. Your plants will then receive the maximum amount of light.

Keep surfaces clean, weed greenhouse beds regularly, sweep the floor, and clean up dead leaves that can harbour diseases and pests.

Close vents and doors late in the afternoon to help trap in heat overnight.

Wildlife and ponds

Leaving seed heads, on plants such as thistles and sunflowers, and allowing vegetation to die back naturally, provides food and shelter for birds through the coldest months.

Clean out and top up your birdbaths regularly so that birds can continue to drink and bathe in fresh clean water.

Remove dead leaves from water lilies as the foliage dies back. Now is also a good time to divide water lilies and other pond plants to increase stocks or control over-vigorous growth.

Thin out submerged oxygenating plants, as they can quickly build up and crowd the pond.

If the weather has been windy, pond debris should be removed by using a net or rake.

Don’t forget all of the other wildlife in your garden. If you have Clematis, Creepers or Ivy growing in your garden trim lightly instead of cutting back the stems, they will already be home to hibernating insects including butterflies and ladybirds, sheltering from frosts to come.

Avoid disturbing leaf piles and compost heaps that could be used as shelters by hedgehogs and toads, which enter hibernation in autumn.

Looking after your lawn

Mow less frequently during autumn. Raise the height of cut as the growth rate of the grass slows down. This will help the lawn to withstand the last of the warm, dry weather, and also keep it resistant to treading as the wet weather arrives.

Rectify summer damage by repairing a patchy lawn with turf or seed.

Any brown patches caused by drought will quickly green up by themselves when the rain comes and the temperatures fall – usually towards the end of the month.

Now is a good time to carry out lawn maintenance to avoid waterlogging and compaction. Aerate your lawn with a garden fork; remove thatch from the surface with a rake.