Top 10 gardening jobs for October

Added: 23/09/14 : 14:56:30


The autumn chill sets in

Although we had some warmer days over September, the autumn is now definitely here for real, and it feels colder. It's a beautiful time of year, with the trees changing colour.

Sometimes it may seem pointless raking, when the wind blows even more leaves onto the lawn, but just think of all the lovely leafmould you can make! It's also time to start preparing for early frosts.

1.  Clear up fallen autumn leaves regularly
2.  Cut back perennials that have died down
3.  Divide herbaceous perennials and rhubarb crowns
4.  Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into the greenhouse
5.  Plant out spring cabbages
6.  Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts
7.  Prune climbing roses
8. Order seeds for next year
9. Last chance to mow lawns and trim hedges in mild areas
10. Renovate old lawns or create new grass areas by laying turf

Lawns and Ponds in October

Added: 23/09/14 : 15:02:54


Lawns

In many colder areas, this month is the last opportunity to scarify, aerate and top dress lawns. Scarification removes layers of thatch and can be done with either a spring-tine rake or a powered scarifier.

Afterwards apply an autumn lawn feed; these are low in nitrogen, so discouraging lush green growth that would only succumb to cold and diseases over the winter months.

This is definitely your last chance to sow grass seed in mild areas of Ireland. Cover newly sown areas with clear polythene to protect them from cold or fierce rain, if these are forecast in your area. Light to moderate rain will aid germination.

Rake fallen leaves off lawns before they block out light and air penetration to the grass. On large lawns a leaf-blower will make the job much easier, but only powerful models are capable of shifting leaves from damp lawns.

This is the last chance to mow recently sown grass areas, to neaten them up before the winter. Donít cut lower than 2.5cm (1in). Topping with the mower will also prevent weeds getting out of hand.

To assist walking over lawns plagued with worm casts or muddy areas, consider laying paths or stepping-stones across main routes of access, so that the lawn is not spoiled by treading in the winter weather.

Toadstools and fairy rings appearing in the lawn may be a sign that scarification and autumn lawn care is necessary.

It is too late to apply a weedkiller now - effectiveness will be much reduced. A final mow will keep weeds in hand until the spring, when weedkillers can again be used.

Ponds

Continue to place nets over small ponds to prevent autumn leaves falling in.

Rescue tender water plants and remove any dying foliage. Place the plants in trays of deep mud or damp sand, or even in a bucket of water, keeping them in a frost-free place such as a conservatory or greenhouse, until the risk of frost has passed.

If you did not tidy up the pond last moth, then clear out any debris, weeds, and excess oxygenating plants now, leaving them on the side for 38 hours before composting them, so that wildlife has time to escape back to the pond.

Remove pumps or fountains and removable lighting systems, clean them, and store over winter in a safe place.

If there is any risk of frost or ice in your area, then do prepare yourself by preventing ponds from freezing over.

Continue to lookout for waterlilies affected by fungal problems.