• Sally Watts


Updated: Oct 11, 2019

October marks the start of the autumn leaves falling.

Rake up healthy fallen leaves to make leaf mould. Place in a wire netting bin or store leaves in pierced bin liners to be used as a mulch next year.

Clear away leaves from your lawn, if left they can smother the grass and cause bare patches.

If you have room, try not to have your entire garden manicured by leaving an area in your garden for twigs and leaves as it is key for wild life and hibernating animals such as hedgehogs.

Reduce the risk of black spot on roses by removing leaves that have fallen around the base of plants preventing spores of fungal disease over wintering in the soil. Put them in the dustbin not on the compost heap.

If you have mature ivy in your garden don’t prune it but leave until February/ March as this is a valuable source of nectar and the berries are loved by garden birds.

Prune tall growing shrubs that are pruned in spring such as lavatera and Buddleya by half now to reduce wind rock.

If herbaceous perennials have finished flowering, they can be cut back close to the crown of the plant but leave seed heads and grasses as this can give a decorative boost late into the year. Many provide homes for overwintering insects and birds can benefit from their seeds when finding food is otherwise difficult.

Take the opportunity to remove weeds and spread with a light mulch.

September and October are the best time for planting Spring bulbs and late show stoppers such as alliums. Tulips however are best planted in November.

Now is an ideal time to be planting and transplanting while the soil is still warm and we are getting more rain so that roots can develop before winter’s harsher weather arrives.

Complete Spring bedding in borders or pots such as wallflowers, primulas and violas this month.

Remove debris from ponds but leave on the side for a day or so to allow any wildlife and insects to return to the water.

Net ponds to avoid too many leaves in the water.

Many parts of the Uk will get their first frosts this month. Once these have blackened any dahlia foliage, cut down to ground level and lift tubers for frost free wintering.

In mild regions plants can be left in the ground with a mulch of organic matter for protection.

Move tender plants into the shelter of a greenhouse or conservatory.

Renovate old roses by cutting back all the old woody stems to the base. Keep six or so young vigorous stems and tie these in.

For pesticide free protection of fruit trees use grease bands wrapped around the trunk about 18 inches from soil level or tree barrier glue. This is to prevent damage of foliage of fruit trees caused by winter moth and other moth species laying their eggs.

New hedges that were planted in the spring can be given a trim this month to prevent them from being straggly and open at the base.


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

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