As we head out of one of the hottest summers on record into the cooler Autumn and Winter months, ensuring our trees and shrubs are primed to cope with the transition, will give your garden a better chance to thrive next Spring.
Here are a few simple things you can do to prep in the Autumn and Winter months:
Pruning at the right time for each type of tree or shrub is crucial – Please always double check your tree or shrubs specific needs. However, a general rule for most Summer (May through August) deciduous flowering shrubs and trees is that they will need pruning in the late Autumn or throughout the Winter – between Jan to March. Flowering Cherries can be pruned in the late Summer and Conifers in the Autumn.
Make sure dead branches are removed. Any damaged or diseased branches need to be removed also.
Remove any suckers to stop unwanted spreading and energy sapping of the main plant or tree. Removing suckers should be done all year round however, not only at this time of year.
Finally, look at the overgrowth, if the branches are stretching out over pathways, patios or if the growth is starting to become invasive or protruding, these areas need pruning back.
If you are unsure of how exactly to prune, please speak to a professional, as if done incorrectly, pruning can kill off a plant or tree for good.
Newly planted trees are susceptible to harsh cold Winters. Keeping them moist but not waterlogged will be essential in their growth throughout the first couple of years. Mulching can help with this. It locks moisture in on dryer days, it helps reduce the number of weeds around the roots and helps prevent any frost getting into the soil. Spread around 3 inches of bark, peat, compost, or other organic material around the tree. If there is going a particularly severe winter in your area, you could go one step further and put up some plastic sheeting as protection, pin each side down to the ground with wooden pegs or use a large plastic bag over the top on those nights that are forecast to be freezing.
The beginning of Autumn is a great time to plant trees, perennials, bulbs, and shrubs – the soil should be warm and moist from the Summer season, and the air temperatures will have cooled – the perfect balance for planting new trees or shrubs.
A vibrant Azalea or fragrant Daphne will bring a much-needed boost to your Autumn Garden. Or try a climbing Clematis, with its many species there is something to suit everyone.
Autumn is a really great time to have a good tidy up before the cold weather hits and you will want to be out in the garden less. Collect up all the loose leaves as they start to fall and add them to the compost heap. Clean all tool and equipment, putting away anything that won’t be needed for a while. Cover drains with plastic covers to keep them free from leaves and mulch. It’s also a good time to do one last de-weeding session. It’s easy to think they’ll die off in the winter, but if you remove them now, they won’t return when the weather warms up.
Come Spring next year you’ll be thankful for putting in the effort over the Winter months.