Now that the school holidays are here, if you’re planning on going away, don’t forget to leave arrangements for the garden. Plants grown in containers need water – a lot. If you can ask a neighbour to look after your pots while you are away that is ideal. If not, consider investing in an automatic watering system. These systems are available from garden centres and can save you a lot of time…
…and when you get back from your holiday, there’s plenty to do in the garden this month!
Now is a good time to apply a fertiliser with high potash content to ‘green up’ the grass. In late summer it’s not advisable to apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to a lawn as it will promote vigorous growth, which will not stand up to the rigors of winter. Fertilisers with a high potash content will instead promote root growth, toughening up the grass for the winter ahead. Growth has slowed up now but to keep looking good lawns still need mowing once a week.
Most hedges can be given their final trim towards the end of this month, as they will not grow much after this. If you want a level top hedge, fix a post at either end and tie twine between them at the required height. Trim the sides of the hedge first, working from the bottom up, whether using a powered hedge trimmer or hand shears. The reason for working upwards is that as you cut, the trimmings will fall away and you will be better able to see where you are going. Make the hedge wider at the base and narrower at the top. This way it will stand up to the weather better. The top can be trimmed last using the twine as a guide.
Large-leaved hedges such as Laurel cannot be trimmed with shears or hedge trimmers because these would cut through the large leaves, causing them to go brown. The way to cut these hedges is with secateurs. If you have a large hedge this is a long tiresome task, but the hedge will look so much better with no browned-off bits.
Prune rambling roses after they have flowered. It’s really very easy: all you have to remember is they produce flowers on wood produced the previous year. All side shoots that have flowered can be pruned back to one or two buds from the main stems. Any new, strong shoots should be tied in to replace older shoots. Any very old stems should be cut right back down to the base. In this way, you’ll encourage new shoots.
Complete summer pruning of Wisteria this month. Again, it’s very simple: just prune all the long new whippy growth back to five or six buds from the main stem. This encourages the plant to produce flower buds. If you have a young plant and want to extend the framework, leave the side shoots on but tie them in to where you want the growth to be. Established Wisterias are very vigorous and it’s important to let them know who’s the boss in the garden! Prune this month and again in February and they will reward you with abundance.
Other general tasks
Remove blooms with secateurs from roses as they fade. There is no need to feed roses this month. Dead head other plants in the garden that look untidy and cut off all weak tall stems.