- Put up bug boxes if you have not already done so.
- Put out food for hedgehogs so that they are well fed ready for hibernating.
- Clean out nest boxes and repair or replace as necessary. If you haven’t put up nest boxes in the past, now is a good time to think about putting them in place as it gives birds a chance to get used to them. Different birds like different types of nest box so choose and site them according to what species you wish to attract.
- If you have not been feeding the birds throughout summer this is a good month to start. It helps birds prepare for winter when natural food supplies become harder to find. Choose a variety of feeders (eg a bird table and a feeding station for hanging feeders) if you want to attract a wide range of birds feed different feeds. Supply high energy food like suet balls and sunflower hearts or a blend designed for autumn and winter use.
Trees, Shrubs and Flowers
- Continue to deadhead containers and baskets as they will keep going until the first frost.
- Prune later flowering shrubs and climbing roses.
- Divide or plant new herbaceous perennials.
- Divide tired looking alpines.
- Deadhead flowers such as penstemons, dahlias and roses to encourage late blooms.
- Autumn is an ideal time for planting new plants or moving existing ones.
- Plant Spring flowering bulbs. Spring bulbs can provide a much needed food source for bees emerging from hibernation. Crocus, snowdrops and native bluebells are good, bee friendly choices.
- Plant daffodil bulbs for early spring colour. Use dwarf varieties for fronts of borders and containers.
- Plant outdoor hyacinths in containers, three or five to a pot. The perfume of these and other scented bulbs can be appreciated even more if used in containers near doors.
- Give evergreen hedges a final trim.
- Thoroughly soak drought stressed plants.
- Mow less frequently and raise the height in Autumn.
- Give the lawn an autumn feed to help root growth and toughen up top growth to help grass cope with winter conditions. Choose feeds with added moss killer if moss is a problem. Rake out or scarify any moss first.
- Finally top dress the lawn. Applying a layer of sand/soil/peat mix to a lawn. This will help prevent thatch build up.
- This is an ideal time to create new lawns from turf or seed or to spot treat lawns in the same manner.
Fruit and Vegetables
- Harvest your crops and freeze them if you have a glut.
- Pick all tomatoes from plants by the end of the month and store in a brown paper bag with a banana to help speed up ripening.
- Keep feeding and water French and runner beans.
- Pick off rotting fruit.
- Cut back the fruited canes of summer raspberries.
- Sow hardy varieties of lettuce and winter purslane ready for picking next spring.
- Dig up any remaining potatoes.
- Cover leafy vegetables with netting to protect them from the birds.
- When storing apples choose only sound, unblemished fruit. Either cook and freeze the rest of the surplus or preserve it by making chutney.
- Cut squash and pumpkins towards the end of the month if the weather is dry and leave them outside for 7-10 days to cure the skins before storing in a dry, frost free place.
- Sow a green manure crop on unplanted ground in vegetable plots.
General Maintenance and Structures
- Once greenhouses are cleared out give them a good clean using a specific greenhouse cleaner and a smoke generating product. This prevents pests, fungal diseases, bacteria and viruses over-wintering. Your greenhouse will also be ready for any plants that need winter protection.
- Cover ponds before the leaves fall but clear any excess pond weed first.
- Most perennial weeds are vulnerable to weed killer early Autumn.
- Clear dead fallen leaves to prevent the spread of disease.
- Clean hard surfaces and patios to prevent the build-up of moss and algae that will make them slippery in the winter.
- Make or repair compost bins to collect fallen leaves.
- Install a water butt.
- Clean and store away garden furniture.
- Raise pots off the ground for winter.