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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Winter 2004
 
John Cushnie On...
 

PREPARE FOR WINTER
15 October 2005

This is the month when a lot of part-time gardeners hibernate for the winter. The garden will look better if you leave it tidy and you won’t have to start into a mess next spring.

WeedsBy now weeding should be less of a priority but where perennials have become established then a final clean out, paying particular attention to their roots, will pay dividends.

Tidy the borders trimming the edges and raking over the soil. Herbaceous perennials will be dying down and this is the time to remove all of the dead and decaying foliage. Old flower stems can be cut back. Slugs and snails hide under plant debris and a good clear out will leave them homeless and vulnerable to hungry birds.

Tender perennials can be mulched with chopped straw or coarse bark mulch heaping the cover over the crown of the plant to keep out Jack frost.

As trees lose their leaves it will be easier to see the shape and spot any branches with disease such as canker. Crossing branches can be pruned to prevent them rubbing together.

Check tree stakes, ties and the pads. If the stake is no longer required then remove it. Slacken the supporting ties where they are tight before they cut into the bark and strangle the tree.

Tree roots, particularly those of ornamental cherry trees, which are showing on the surface of the lawn should be cut out filling the trench with topsoil.

The suckers of poplar trees and Rhus typhina (Stag’s horn) should be dug out before they become large and start a forest.

Tender perennials can be mulched with chopped straw or coarse bark mulch heaping the cover over the crown of the plant to keep out Jack frost.Take every opportunity to cut the grass. There will be fewer dry days and the grass will continue to grow until the temperature drops to below 6 o C. Collect the grass cuttings rather than leaving them on the lawn.

Clean the gunge out of the bottom of the pond and cover it with a net to prevent a build up of autumn leaves and debris. If the pump is not going to be used during the winter months lift it out, clean and dry it prior to storing it in a dry, frost-proof shed.

Most of the summer and autumn vegetable crops have been harvested by now. The vegetable plot can be tidied removing all rubbish, old stalks and weeds. Dig the ground leaving it rough to allow the winter frost to break the lumps and at the same time kill over wintering pests. When digging the last of the potatoes make sure all the crop is lifted. Any tubers that are allowed to remain in the soil will be weeds next spring.

Where lime is needed it can be spread and dug into the soil now.

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