GENERAL MAINTENANCE :
The weather is now cooler but keep on top of garden hygiene. Rake up leaves. These can be composted. Bear in mind that leaves take longer to break down. If the leaves are not wet our tip is to make small piles and go over them with a lawn mower and collect them in the box. This will help them to compost quicker. Our other suggest would be to bag the leaves in black refuse bags, wet the leaves, poke some holes in the bags, close the top and leave them in corner of the garden out of the way. In 2 years you will have lovely leaf mould that can be used as mulch or dug in to improve the condition of your soil. Cut back and compost all summer bedding
Any tender plants such as citrus, brugmansia or fuchsia should be potted up and brought under glass. Lift and divide herbaceous perennials keeping only the strongest portions.
Hard wood cuttings of roses and deciduous shrubs can be taken.
Tie in long or newly grown stems of rambling or climbing roses to prevent rocking and wind damage through winter.
If the leaves of Cannas and Dahlias has been blackened by the first frost, it is time to lift and pot them in some dry compost.
PESTS & DISEASES :
Continue with vine weevil treatments. As the temperatures are still warm the grubs will still be hatching
Mow less frequently as grass growth will be slowing down. Start removing thatch from lawns using a scarifier. It is important to do this for the health of the lawn to prevent surface drainage problems, moss and weed growth. Follow scarification with aeration. All plants including grass need air. Work in a mix of loam and sand topdressing with a stiff brush. This will help to keep the aeration holes open. If your lawn is worn, mix in some grass seed into the top dressing.
Feed lawns with a high phosphate fertilizer if not done last month. This will help strengthen roots before winter. Do not apply a high nitrogen fertilizer as this puts on growth that will not withstand the winter weather conditions.
Lawn weed killers are most effective in cool damp autumn weather but make sure the weed killer is specifically for lawns.
Early autumn is the best time to start laying turf or seeding lawns. Worn patches of lawn can also be seeded.
Prune back bamboos taking out the weak stems
When the flowers have faded on climbing roses, they can be pruned. If they are still going strong pruning can be delayed until next month. It is best to remove any dead or diseased stems. Start tying in basal shoots. If there are not many basal shoots start pruning the side shoots on the existing framework, down to 2 or 3 buds. Remove old stems down to ground level.
If you have not given your hedges one last trim before winter, there is still time to get it done.
Still time to plant spring bulbs if you have not got round to it. Remember tulips should be planted in November to avoid tulip fire.
Nurseries will have stock of their root ball hedge plants. These are cheaper than container grown plants. October is a good month to be planting hedges.
Evergreen shrubs can be lifted and moved now.
Winter bedding will be in the nurseries.
RUNWAY PLANTS FOR OCTOBER
Rhus typhina (autumn colour)
Sorbus sargentiana (autumn berries)
Amelanchier lamarckii (autumn colour)
Euonymus alatus (autumn colour)
Rosa ‘Burgundy Ice’
Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’
Rosa rugosa (hips)
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’
Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’
Achillea millefolium ‘Paprika’
Agapanthus ‘Blue Giant’
Anemone x hybrida ‘September Charm’
Aster ‘Little Carlow’
Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Kew Blue’
Eryngium bourgatii ‘Picos Blue’
Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’