The record breaking temperatures over August bank holiday will have got many people out into the garden and, although autumn is only just around the corner, David Coton can suggest these September jobs.
Ensure that the garden is full of colour for another month or so by supporting the stems of late flowering perennials - asters, sedums and rudbeckia.
Fill any gaps in the border with chrysanthemums and other autumn flowering plants.
Remember to continually deadhead flowers and feed baskets with high potash fertilizer.
Azeleas, Rhododendons and Camellias grown in containers might be too dry, water well over the next few weeks and this will avoid buds falling off in the spring.
Trim hedges now and they will not need to be cut again until the spring. Make sure that they slope away from the top to let in maximum sunlight. Wear safety glasses, use sturdy and stable ladders, and if you are using electric cutters fit a RCD.
Herbaceous perennials can be divided to prevent clumping and to revitalise them. If shrubs have outgrown their location or need to be moved for any other reason, this is the best time of the year to re-position them.
Buy bulbs from your garden centre for forcing, hyacinths take about 12 weeks, they make great Christmas presents, To save time and effort, 'prepared' bulbs are available.
Harvesting and Sowing
Lift and harvest maincrop potatoes and store in a dry, cool environment.
Autumn fruiting raspberries usually need support, this will prevent them from flopping over and make picking the fruit easier.
There's still time to sow fast growing crops such as rocket and also winter purslane, perpetual spinach and rocket to be picked through the winter until early next year.
Sow hardy annuals such as calendula, nigella and papaver in soil that has been dug over and is weed free.
Winter broad beans such as 'Aquadulce Claudia' can be sown in fertile ground that won't get waterlogged.
Tidying and Feeding
The first leaves will be falling soon. These need to be collected and preferably composted into leaf mould.
Clear away plants and foliage that are past their best, dig over vegetable patches while adding organic matter, consider growing a crop of green manure.
Improve the soil around trees, shrubs and perennials before winter arrives by lightly forking and mulching with compost.
There is no better time to lay turf, repair patches or sow a new lawn. Make sure the turf is from a cultivated source or you are using the correct seed – fine mixtures require regular maintenance, a course mixture is more suitable if there are children about.
Give existing lawns an autumn feed, lengthen the cut and aerate with a garden fork, repair bare patches using good quality seed.
Although your pond might not be adjacent to hedges or under trees, falling leaves will inevitably be blown into it. So now is the time to invest in pond netting.
If leaves are allowed to fall into the pond they will rot and noxious gases will be released together with nitrates that will encourage algae. Netting is therefore an essential task especially if you have a small pond, and this is also an effective method of protecting fish against predators and fitting heavy gauge netting is a good safety measure if there are children about.
The foliage from aquatic plants will also collect at the bottom of the pond and start to decompose, so cut off dead leaves and cut back and divide any pond plants which have become overgrown.
Filters and Pumps
The flow of water through pumps and filters should begin to be reduced although cleaning and annual maintenance can wait until later in the year.
The quality of your pond water should be regularly tested throughout the year, and September is no exception. Use a pond test kit and take any appropriate action.
If duck and blanket weed are still a apparent, remove what you can by hand and use a pond water treatment such as barley straw to further eliminate the problem.
If we are still experiencing warm weather, keep the pond topped up. If you use tap water to any great extent you may consider adding a treatment such as Blagdon Fresh Start.
With the diminishing appetite of your fish, start giving them a lower protein food and lessen the amount. Uneaten food will contaminate the water and will increase the risk of any disease.
Continue to care for wildlife by leaving sticks and logs about for hibernating insects or buy frog boxes, bat boxes and hedgehog houses.
Drop into your local garden centre this week for everything you need for your autumn garden or visit the Autumn Gardening Shop on gardensite.co.uk
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