What to do in your garden this month? October
October is always noticeably chillier, with autumn now upon us. Now’s the time to be doing your last few garden jobs before the frost sets in and days become shorter and wetter.
Dividing up Perennials
Now is a good time to divide up any larger clusters of perennials that you may have, to give them the best chance to flourish year on year. Separating your perennials can be done at any time, but it is best when the plant is not actively growing. Plants that flower during summer-time can be divided during autumn when the soil is dry and easy enough to work with.
How do you divide perennials?
- Using a garden fork- gently lift the plants out from the soil, working from the outside in to avoid root damage as much as possible.
- Shake as much soil of as possible so that you can see the roots of the plant.
- With some plants, you may need a knife or a sharp tool to divide the plants, but some may be easily pulled apart with limited damage to the roots.
How to care for your perennials after you’ve divided them?
- Your uplifted plants need to be planted as soon as possible, and watered well. If dividing during autumn, it may be a good idea to plant in pots so that they can be moved into a frost free greenhouse, giving them chance to grow in size to ready to be planted in the ground.
- Try to make sure that your divided plants do not get the chance to fully dry out whilst they are establishing themselves.
October is a good time to plant herbaceous perennials, as the soil shouldn’t be too cold but will be less dry than during the summer months.
Cutting back your perennials in autumn when flowering has finished will improve their growth and flowering, and make the garden look a bit tidier overall, after trimming, mulch and fertilise your plants to help encourage growth.
How to cut back perennials:
Using sharp gardening tools cut the plant down to the crown of the plant, if there is any new growth cut just above it.
Any waste showing signs of disease such as mildew, leaf-spot or rusts, separate from healthy plants and burn. Any other waste apart from ripening seed heads can go in with your compost.
Lilies can be planted early autumn as well as spring bedding plants.
Lift out tender bulbs such as Tigridia and Galtonia and put them in storage in a warmer spot over the winter.
Don’t forget about your pots and hanging baskets, before they get past their best, keep pruning and dead heading, watering and feeding so they can survive until mid-autumn. If your plants have died, pull them up and replace with spring-flowering bulbs, and spring bedding plants.
Any pots or containers that you may have on patios need to be raised to avoid becoming water-logged sitting in water from heavy winter rains. Sitting your pots on bricks or pot feet is good to get them off the ground.
Disease and Pests
Keep an eye on chrysanthemums for signs of white rust caused by fungus often occurring in late summer to autumn. Look out for the upper leaf having sunken yellow or brown spots and white pustules on the underside.
If herbaceous plants such as Chrysanthemum, Anemone and Penstemon have discoloured leaves, leaf and bud eelworm could be the culprit.
Grey Mould is very common problem which affects many plants and can usually be identified by fuzzy greyish/brownish mould. Keep a check of your plants for this issue, especially during wet months. Help to avoid this by getting rid of dead and dying leaves/flowers, properly discard dead plant waste.
Fungal diseases may appear if you continue to feed plants late into the autumn. Bayer Garden Fungus Fighter Disease Control- £4.99 in the garden centre, is a great product to help control disease caused by fungus.
Check your lawns for weathering after summer use. Autumn is a good time to treat your lawn, giving it time to do good before it gets even colder.
Rake you lawn regularly to keep debris, dead moss and grass stems managed, don’t scarify too deep as you may damage the turf. We recommend the Wilkinson Sword Lawn Rake in stock in Grimsby Garden Centre for £29.99.
Spiking your lawn allows it to cope with waterlogging in wet periods better. This only needs to be done every few years. You can do this using a garden fork to spike.
A build-up of fallen autumn leaves can stop light from getting to your grass so try to keep it relatively clear.
If any soil in your garden is dry, give it a last good watering before temperature drops and the ground begins to freeze.
Before they turn bad with the frost, harvest any pumpkins and squashes that you have grown.
Any beans or peas that you’ve grown should be harvested now, when the crop has ended cut the plant down to the ground but leaving the roots, which release nitrogen in the soil as they decay.
If you’re still waiting on any tomatoes or peppers to ripen from green, these can be cut and hung inside to ripen.
Cauliflower heads can be protected from frost by wrapping their leaves around them to cover them and trying them with string, a cheaper alternative to buying fleecing.
Autumn onions can now be planted ready for next summer, along autumn garlic bulbs.
Autumn is a great time to plant a range of fruit trees. Make sure you quickly get rid of any diseased fruit from trees or if it has drop to the ground, to prevent the disease from spreading.
The canes of summer fruiting raspberries should be cut down if you haven’t already, allowing new canes to grow for next year.
Any citrus trees should be moved to a frost free, bright spot in your house, but not next to a radiator. You can reduce the amount you water citrus plants now, but not enough to let them dry out fully.
If you have any removable shading in your greenhouse, now is the time to take this down to let as much light in as possible.
Any tender plants should now be in the greenhouse, but try to give them a bit of space between them to allow for ventilation and to prevent any diseases spreading. Check for any pests on plants before you take them into the greenhouse such as aphids.
Odd Jobs in the Garden
If you’re lucky enough to still be getting any dry weather, then do any quick last touch up and treatments to fences, sheds and decking to protect them from the winter.
Having birds in your garden is not only lovely to look at but can be helpful at keeping pests at bay. Invest in birdbaths, bird houses and bird feeders; we have a great range in stock at Grimsby Garden Centre.
Get a compost bin together to make use of the fallen leaves and debris in your garden.