Garden Tasks to do in Autumn
The world around us may be falling apart, but there are still plenty of tasks that need to be done in and around the home, including in the garden.
While the Coronavirus may have changed the way of the world as we know it, life still goes on. For the homeowner, there are plenty of tasks that need to be done before winter, and there's no better time than the present to get on top of jobs that need to be done in the garden.
Autumn in our gardens brings about plenty of changes as the colder weather sends lawns, plants and trees into their annual hibernation. Because I have a smallish garden, I don't have any spectacularly colourful trees that shed their autumn foliage in shades of reds and yellows. The autumn show in my garden is usually a mess of dead leaves all over the lawn and in the pool. But cleaning up leaves is just one of the tasks that you need to stay on top of, as well as the following:
Put away your garden or patio furniture
Unless you have all-weather furniture outdoors in the garden, packing away - or covering up - garden furniture is recommended for ensuring longevity. We don't experience the cold temperatures as often as other countries do, but it is still essential to maintain and care for your garden furniture to ensure it lasts a long time.
Morning dew and condensation can be detrimental for steel and wooden furniture, especially those items that haven't recently be sealed or checked for rust. If you normally pack furniture away during winter or cover it up, give it a good cleaning before applying an exterior sealer or using a rust inhibitor before applying a coat of paint to metal furniture.
Exterior sealer on wooden furniture allows for deep penetration into the timber and protects from brittle dryness and cracking, as well as rot and fungi attack. You should be applying an exterior sealer at least once every 18 months, but more often if it's expensive furniture and you want it to last a long time.
Give garden tools and equipment some TLC
You're not going to be using your garden tools and equipment much over the next few months, so now is a great time to give them some TLC. Use a rust remover to remove any rust that is starting to take hold of steel blades and cutting edges, as this will eventually destroy the tools.
Sharpen any pruning shears or cutting implements, as well as garden spades that you perhaps use to keep your lawn edges neat. I prefer to use my Dremel Multitool and sharpening stones to keep my gardening tools in tip-top shape and ready for use. But there are plenty of other easy ways to sharpen tools and cutting implements.
Giving the lawnmower a thorough cleaning is also recommended before packing away for winter. If you have the right tools, you can use these to sharpen the lawnmower blades. That will leave you with fewer tasks to do with the arrival of Spring. If you know the lawnmower needs to go in for a service, book now while it is the quiet time and that way you can pick up the mower just in time for spring.
Let lawns hibernate
Most lawns are established with Kikuyu, a hardy grass that hibernates during winter. As the grass turns yellow, don't apply any water as this could cause rotting of the grass roots and poor performance for the next season. It is advisable, however, to remove any weeds during this period of hibernation, so that when spring comes around again the lawn is healthy.
Prepare flower beds and border
With most plants and shrubs dying off during the autumn and winter, now is the best time to add organic compost to ensure the soil is rich with nutrients for the next season. If you haven't established your own compost heap or bin, you can buy organic compost at garden centres and online.
Mulching is also the order of the day for those plants that aren't fond of cold weather or bring these plants indoors if they are in pots or containers. Mulching helps to retain moisture in the soil, which means you don't have to water too much during the autumn and winter, but it also helps to preserve warmth and protect plant root systems.
Plant Spring bulbs
May and June is the perfect time for planting spring bulbs that will provide your garden with a burst of beautiful colour. Most bulb varieties are planted now after you have added some organic compost to the soil beds. Garden centres offer a variety of bulbs and there are suppliers such as Hadeco that supply directly to the public or think about planting seeds now for a colourful display of annual or perennial plants.