SEPTEMBER is a “crucial month in gardening because it marks the transition from summer to fall”, so ahead of the “temperature turning colder”, here are a few gardening tasks to complete over the next few weeks to ensure your plants survive winter.
Fantastic Gardeners‘ gardening expert Petar Ivanov explained how the “texture of your garden” will start to change, in addition, “the chances of rain and strong winds also increase, specifically towards the end of the month”.
Petar said: “Because of that, there are several very important gardening tasks to consider doing during this time of the year to make sure your garden remains healthy and vibrant, whether it’s a flower or edible one.”
Looking at the month in view, the expert added: “This is typically when gardeners should start preparing their space for fall and winter, which usually means they should make sure their plants are protected or, if they have a greenhouse, make sure its structure is sturdy and able to stand against harsh weather conditions.
“Besides that, feeding the soil to replenish it with nutrients is also very important because they have been used up by the plants during the summer and spring seasons.
“However, keep in mind that your local climate and specific plant needs can also influence the timing and prioritisation of what gardening tasks you’ll need to perform so it’s recommended to tailor the recommendations below to your region and garden’s unique conditions for the best results.
“Luckily, it’s pretty easy to prepare your garden for the colder weather by making a comprehensive list of gardeningfor September and sticking to it, which, in my experience, should include the following.”
Petar said: “In September, trim back any summer-flowering perennials that have finished blooming to promote tidiness and redirectto their roots.
“However, avoid heavy pruning of woody shrubs and trees because it may stimulate new growth that won’t have enough time to harden before winter.”
advised: “Deadheading may not always help you get repeated flowering of your summer blooms at this time of the year, but by removing the dead flowerheads, you’ll keep your garden boarders and pots tidy and keep the rest of the plant healthy by saving energy which they can focus for their healthier parts.”
Weeding and clean-up
He continued: “During this month, remove any weeds from your garden to prevent them from going to seed and causing more problems in the. Also, clean any fallen leaves and debris to prevent disease and pests from overwintering in your garden and preventing sunlight from reaching the soil.
“To make use of leaf waste, consider creating leaf mould, which can help you improve your soil.
“To do this, store the fallen leaves you’ve raked somewhere, ideally in a wooden framework with wire mesh, but black bin liners with holes in the sides will also suffice.
“However, keep in mind that the process of these leaves breaking down may take up a few years.
“Water can also help them break down faster so it’s best if you leave them uncovered so therains can get inside.”
Mulching and fertilising
Petar said: “Apply a layer of mulch around any trees, shrubs, and perennial beds to help conserve moisture and regulate soil temperatures during the colder season.
“Consider also layering well-rotted compost or manure on the surface and leaving it to be broken down by earthworms and the winter weather.
“However, if you do that, only add the compost or manure layer if the soil has been dampened by rain because if you do it when the soil is dry, it’ll form a barrier that will block away any moisture and take longer to actually benefit the soil.
“Preparing your soil for winter in this way will help break up any compacted soil and give thin soil the ability to retain moisture better.”
When it comes to fertilising, Petar said: “Apply a balanced, slow-release fertiliser to any trees and shrubs you have planted to provide them with essential nutrients as they prepare for winter dormancy.”
Planting and transplanting
The Fantastic Gardeners‘ gardening expert explained: “September is the ideal time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials because the soil is still warm, which encourages root growth before winter starts.
“However, if you plan to transplant existing plants, do it early in the month to give them time to establish their roots before colder temperatures arrive.
“You can also prepare for spring by planting spring-flowering bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, and crocuses – remember, some prefer a sunny location, while others may thrive better in shady areas.
“Also, use peat-free compost, add fertiliser to it and make sure you raise the pots and beds so there’s proper water drainage and the bulbs don’t rot because of waterlogging.”
Petar added: “As mentioned, September is the time to make sure your garden is secure and provide your plants with protection against harsh weather conditions.
“If you have any young or newly planted trees, they’ll need staking, while older ones will require regular checks to make sure their branches aren’t weak or dangerous.
“Make sure also that any climbers and vines are tied properly to their trellis and support structures. Strong fall and winter winds can cause a lot of damage so make sure your your garden fences and greenhouse structures are stale, properly secured, and reinforced.
“Make sure your garden drainage is also improved to prevent damage caused by heavy rainfall, which can cause your plants to drown and their roots to suffocate.
“Lastly, avoid walking on waterlogged soil because it can compact and damage its structure.
“Instead, if you must do it, use a plank and stand on it which can distribute your weight more evenly.”