• Sally Watts


Updated: Nov 6, 2019

Winter is approaching!

November is the best month for planting tulip bulbs when cooler temperatures should reduce the risk of tulip fire, the fungal disease affecting your bulbs.

Now is your last chance to plant out winter bedding.

Unless you are leaving dead stems for structure in the garden or habitat for wild life, finish cutting down herbaceous perennials that are yellowing or have dead foliage and stems.

Finish lifting and dividing overgrown perennials.

Remove leaves of Christmas and Lenten rose type hellebores to make way for the flowers.

Between now and February is the time to prune most deciduous trees.

Prune Apple and Pear trees between now and early March.

Lightly prune bush roses now if not already done so by reducing the height to prevent wind rock.

Prune Acers now if necessary rather than in late spring to avoid the risk of ‘bleeding’ sap.

If you grow figs, remove any large fruit that have failed to ripen, keeping the small embryo figs to ripen the following year.

Bare root deciduous trees and shrubs become available this month until March. Plant promptly or heel into soil straight away for a short period if conditions are not suitable for planting.

It is an ideal time to plant bare root roses, but be sure to remove all soil and replace if you are planting where roses were previously grown otherwise they will suffer from rose sickness.

Protect trunks of newly planted trees against rabbits, deer and squirrels with plastic spiral or mesh guards.

Tie wall shrubs and climbers onto their supports to protect them from wind damage. Any growth that refuses to be trained in this way can be cut off.


Switch blades to a taller cutting height if mowing the lawn.

Its too late to be sowing grass seed but new lawns can still be laid from turf if the weather is not too cold.

In mild parts of the country as long as its not frosty or very wet, you can still carry out autumn lawn care by scarifying, aerating and top dressing. This will improve the lawn’s performance next year.

Don’t use left over summer feeds, as they contain too much nitrogen which stimulates lush growth which at this time of year will be vulnerable to diseases. Use an Autumn lawn feed which contains more Potassium and Phosphorous to encourage hardiness and root growth instead.

Avoid walking on lawns on frosty mornings . It can damage the grass and often leads to brown footprint-shaped marks.

Keep off lawns if it is frosty or wet.

Site bird tables a few feet clear of cover or tall vegetation to avoid predators such as cats.

Raise patio containers onto feet or bricks to avoid them sitting in the winter wet. Large tubs that are at risk of cracking in the frost should be covered with hessian, fleece or bubble wrap.

Move alpine troughs to a covered porch or lean-to to protect them from the rain. Pick over alpines regularly removing any autumn debris and covering died back patches with extra grit to encourage their re-growth.


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Garden Design in and around Peterborough, Cambridge, Northamptonshire & London

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