The period between Autumn and Winter is when the garden really starts to slow down, and the pace feels manageable. Although the speed may have changed it is still a great time to get on top of the maintenance of the garden and make sure you get all those jobs ticked off the list.
1. Maintain your garden
Lawns take a battering in the hot summer so now is the perfect time to give them some love and attention. Start by looking up! By thinning and reducing the canopy of the plants surrounding the lawn you will increase light to the leaves of the grass which in turn will help health through winter. As deciduous trees lose their leaves, it is easier to see the branch structure of the plant. So, prune for shape as well as removing any damaged or decaying wood.
2. Why and how to aerate your lawn
Aerating your lawn is the next step. This can be done with silly plastic sandals, an aerating fork or just a simple garden fork. Plunge the fork into the ground, give it a bit of a wiggle and repeat all over the lawn. If you have a large lawn a motorised aerator will speed things up and save your back in the process. By aerating the lawn, you are de-compacting it whilst improving soil structure by creating fractures that allow better root growth, water penetration and oxygen down to the roots.
Finish off your lawn maintenance by top dressing with an 80/20 or straight sand mix. This will fill the holes but maintain the air you worked so hard to achieve through the soil. You can also use the top dress to level out any uneven spots on the surface.
3. Perfecting your garden hedge
With a final burst of growth on your hedges done for the gardening year, it is a good idea to get them tip top and tidy for Winter– watch for flowers on your Camellias and try to retain as many buds as you can, or you will lose the display altogether. With evergreen none flowering hedges do not cut them back too hard in an attempt to prolong time until the next cut as you risk damaging the wood.
4. Controlling weeds
Although it seems that weeds do not stop growing at the same rate as everything else, they still do slow down. Getting on top of weeds throughout your garden beds is best done whilst you can. Hand weeding is a great way to remove weeds quickly and effectively or the simple application of Richgro Beat-A-Weed means they get hit down quickly without the physical effort.
After weeding and lawn maintenance, I like to apply a granular soil wetter such as Richgro Ezi Wet. Winter can be deceptively dry where the effects are not felt until it is too late. The application of a soil wetter means when the rain does fall, it is effectively drawn up by the plants and lawn.
5. Applying Mulch to retain moisture
Another good gardening practice is to apply a layer of mulch such as Richgro Pine Bark Mulch as this will insulate the soil during the cooler months and help retain moisture– it is also a great way to suppress any weeds that try and re-emerge.
6. Feed your Winter Vegetables
Your winter veggie patch and Winter Grow Bags will still be growing strong and putting on growth. Ensure you supplement these heavy feeders with Richgro Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable Liquid fertiliser applied every 10-14 days.
This can be applied to the foliage where it gets taken into the plant and any excess falls down to the root zone where it is also taken up by the plant.
7. Maintaining your garden surroundings
Maintenance at this time of year is not just on your plants, it is a great time to clean hard surfaces such as pathways and patio areas. Give your garden beds a good soak before cleaning your pavers as applying a concentrated cleaner can be harmful to plants and soaking the ground ensures it is diluted. Once complete give the gardens and the foliage of your plants another good soak to remove any residue. After your paving areas are clean look for any Ant infestations and apply Richgro Ant, Spider and Cockroach killer to combat the problem.
For more handy hints straight to your inbox, sign up to the Richgro Newsletter at the bottom of this page.