Autumn gardening advice

Caroline Cassidy

The weather may be beginning to turn but it's still mild enough to complete those end of season gardening chores. At this time of year the garden will begin to change so you need to make sure it gets all the care and attention it needs to see it through those chilly winter months. Here are some top tips to make sure your garden will remain in good condition this autumn.

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The first job on your list should be the lawn. Don't stop mowing the grass altogether now but do it a little less. Don't cut it too short either because the grass will grow slower at this time of year. Rake out dead grass and moss and try an autumn lawn feed as well to keep your lawn in great condition.

It's time to remove plant debris and diseased leaves from your flowers and vegetables. Get rid of yellowing foliage and any deadwood from plants. Dig up the annuals and cut back on the perennials for the coming spring.

This is also a good time to start making compost for the next year. Place cuttings in a compost bin and turn it over regularly in the autumn and winter months. It is also a really good time to turn your compost heap if you have one. It will heat up and then gently rot over winter period.

When autumn arrives you should be thinking of planting spring bulbs, like daffodils, tulips, and new perennials. Although the temperature may be dropping there is still time for new plants to get established before the real cold sets in. If you want to move any shrubs or trees then this is the time to do it.

If you have a conservatory make sure it gets some air before the cold weather makes it impossible. As light levels fall reduce shading as well as reducing the watering of any houseplants.

Preserve garden furniture by storing it inside over the winter months. Treat wooden items with preservative. Cover the pond with a net to stop falling leaves from polluting the water. You will need to clean the net regularly to stop it becoming clogged. This is especially important if you have fish. You want to make sure they can breathe, so don't let the pond freeze.

It's good to take care of wildlife at this time of year. Why not have a bird feeder near the fence or tree to provide protection from predators. Plants with berries will provide an extra source of food for birds and other wildlife.

Look after any garden tools. Oiling them will protect them and keep them looking good for another year. Use a whet stone to sharpen bladed tools and store them away through winter. Broken handles can be replaced now.