Autumn is the time when the growing cycle ends and plants go into a more dormant state in preparation for winter. This makes autumn the ideal time for tending to your garden. Some jobs are best left to expert gardeners
, but these are some autumn gardening jobs you may be able to tackle yourself.
Tend to Your Pot Plants
Autumn is the perfect time to tend to your potted plants. If you have some that are old, ill or unproductive, replace them in autumn and let the new plants settle in until spring. Take a look at your healthy potted plants. If the roots are starting to force their way out of the drainage holes, buy larger pots and transplant them or snip off the protruding roots and elevate the pots so they don't try to take root in the ground. If you have cracked or faded pots, replace them in autumn, when you are in least danger of damaging the plants.
Clean Out Your Garden Shed
Autumn is a good time to put your garden shed or storage area in order. Start by taking all your insecticides and chemical fertilisers off their shelves and taking a good look at them. Look for use-by dates and dispose of those that are approaching theirs. Look into replacing older chemical products with newer, safer ones or organic alternatives.
Take out all your hand tools and give them a good cleaning and sharpening. If the mowing season has passed, sharpen your lawn mower blades, clean the mower thoroughly and consider removing the fuel and replacing the oil. Wait until spring to replace the spark plug, though.
Autumn is the ideal time of year for bulb planting. They will establish their root systems early and when spring arrives, they will be the first flowers to bloom.
Start a Compost Heap
There's no better time to start a compost heap than autumn. If you have deciduous trees, just add their leaves to the compost heap as they fall and by springtime, you'll have an ideal compost mixture ready for use.
Rearrange Your Shrubs
Autumn is the perfect time for transplanting perennials, but save the deciduous varieties until the dead of winter when they are bare. The biggest mistake you can make is to plant them too deep, so make sure the top of the root ball is just at the surface of the soil. Keep them well watered and once a week add a seaweed product to your watering can and they will probably transplant without a problem.
Cull the Excess
Some varieties of flowers thrive too well in the garden. In time, they divide and establish new plants, clumping together and competing for sun and soil nutrients. Some of these, like agapanthus, clivia, day lilies, and irises can take some pretty rough treatment. Remove them roots and all and divide the stems. Replace half the stems in their original location and find a new home for the other half. You'll end up with happier, healthier plants and they will show it by flowering profusely in the spring.
Tend to Your Trees
Autumn is a good time to tend to your trees. Were they providing a little too much shade over the summer? If so, you may want to cull some of the lower branches. This will allow more light to find its way to the plants beneath it. Is it looking too thick and unkempt? You may want to selectively remove some limbs, to lighten its load and appearance. If you decide the tree needs removing or if you have to climb the tree to prune it, hire an arborist and get the job done safely and efficiently.