Autumn is truly the most beautiful time of year no matter where you are in the world, with the changing leaves and blooming natives signalling the start of the colder days ahead. For avid gardeners, Autumn is also an important time to take care of gardens and prepare them for the colder winter months. If you are new to gardening, you may be surprised to know that Autumn plays a particularly vital role in ensuring that you get the best outcomes and growth come Spring. To keep your home garden vibrant and healthy, you need to carefully plan and take action now.
To get you started, we share 6 care and maintenance tips for gardens in Autumn, so read on to find out more!
1. Put Up Barriers & Other Protection For Fruit Trees
As the colder months quickly approach, it is important that gardeners avoid neglecting your fruit trees just because the growing season is winding down. Putting up barriers for fruit trees in Autumn is an important practice for protecting your home orchard from potential damage caused by wildlife during the winter months. As temperatures drop and food sources become scarce, wildlife such as possums, birds, rabbits, and rodents may turn to fruit trees for sustenance. Putting up barriers such as wire mesh, tree wraps or covering with shade cloth is a great way to deter pests from their unwanted visits to your home garden. Additionally, barriers can help to protect your fruit trees from harsh winter winds, which can cause branches to break or crack. Erecting garden fencing is also a fantastic way to offer your plants some protection from the wind. Thankfully, there are numerous suppliers such as Outback Fencing that provide a wide variety of fences with expedited shipping, allowing you to protect your precious fruit trees just in time for Winter.
2. Compost & Top Up Mulch For The Winter
Mulching your garden beds is an important step in preparing your garden for the colder Winter months. A layer of mulch will help to insulate the soil, retain moisture, and prevent weeds from growing. We recommend using a natural mulch such as shredded leaves, straw, or wood chips. This is because organic mulches will slowly decompose over time and release vital nutrients into the soil while improving the soil structure. Another thing you can do to improve soil quality in Autumn is to add a generous amount of compost to your garden to renew soil that has been depleted over the Spring and Summer growing season. High quality organic compost can be added around trees, flowers, or shrubs and worked into the soil for next year’s vegetable harvest.
Explore the best types of compost for your vegetable garden here.
3. Remove Leaves & Trim/Prune
Autumn is also a great time to prune the trees and shrubs in your home garden. Pruning before the colder Winter months will remove any dead or damaged branches, on top of encouraging new, healthy growth in the coming Spring. The cold climate of Winter makes it easier for your trees and shrubs to lose shape and branches, and a little healthy pruning will help to avoid this when your garden is faced with a cold frost. This is also the ideal time to cut back your Summer flowering plants such as lavender, agapanthus and roses to prevent long stems from snapping in harsh winter storms. Be sure to remove all spent flowers and cut to shape growth.
New to pruning? Learn everything you need to know in this handy guide.
4. Plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs
Planting Spring-flowering bulbs in Autumn is a common gardening practice because it allows the bulbs to establish roots and prepare for glorious Spring blooming. Spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and jonquils, need a period of cold temperatures in order to trigger the growth process once it starts to warm up. By planting them before the ground gets too cold, your bulbs will have an ample amount of time to establish their root systems and get the necessary exposure to cold temperatures during the Winter months. Autumn planting also allows your bulbs to take advantage of the moisture in the soil during the cooler months, which will help them to establish strong roots and prepare for blooming in Spring.
Note: It’s important to note that bulbs should be planted in well-draining soil, at a depth that is appropriate for the specific type of bulb. It’s also important to water the bulbs after planting, to help them settle into the soil and establish roots before winter sets in.
Explore the best bulbs to plant in Autumn here.
5. Fertilise Your Lawn
Autumn is definitely the best time of the year to prepare your lawn for the harsh Winter ahead. You can easily do this by fertilising your lawn in Autumn to encourage prolonged growth and to ensure a thick coverage and extended colour throughout the colder months. Fertilising before Winter will also help to prevent weeds from overtaking your garden when your lawn growth rate inevitably slows down. We recommend applying a balanced fertiliser with micronutrients and trace elements that will replace important elements that may have been lost over Summer. While you’re at it, this is also a great time to apply pre-emergent herbicide and target weeds before they begin to appear.
6. Clean & Organise Gardening Tools
Finally, as you finish up your Autumn garden maintenance, be sure to clean and store your garden tools properly. This will help to prolong their lifespan and ensure they are in good condition for the next gardening season. Moreover, giving your tools a thorough cleaning or disinfecting will also help to reduce the spread of plant diseases that can wreak havoc on your garden. We recommend washing your tools down with a garden hose to remove dirt and debris, followed by a wipe down with ethanol or isopropyl alcohol to disinfect. Once disinfected, allow your tools to dry thoroughly before putting them away.
When storing and organising tools, it is important to keep them in a cool and dry place such as a shed where they are more likely to remain rust-free. A simple pegboard is also a great addition to any shed to keep everything organised and easy to access.
Learn how to clean and care for your garden tools on 8 easy steps here.
And there you have it — 6 expert gardening tips that are guaranteed to keep your home garden in tip top condition as temperatures start to drop. By following these care and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your garden remains healthy and beautiful throughout the year.
What are some of your favourite Autumn gardening tips for homeowners with a green thumb? Be sure to share them in the comments below.