Autumn is the season of lawn maintenance and this is what you do. Rake out the ‘thatch’ or dead grass and moss that has accumulated over the mowing season using a wire rake, powered lawn rake or scarifier that can be rented from the tool hire shop. To save money, you could hire one and share it with several friends.
To aerate the lawn and improved drainage, spike compacted areas with a fork; push the spikes into the ground easing it backwards and forwards to loosen the soil. Hollow tine every three or four years, it’s like an apple corer for lawns, which remove plugs of soil to aerate and reduce compaction. Powered versions can be hired be hired, again, the machine is worth sharing or there are hand-held versions for small lawns. After use the plugs, sweep them together and stack them in a pile to decompose, into loam that can be used as potting compost. The holes in the lawn are then filled by brushing in top dressing with the back of a rake or stiff brush according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Feed with lawn fertiliser before top dressing and seeding over worn patches.
Your summer bedding should look good until at least the end of the month, continue feeding, watering and deadheading until the plants start to deteriorate.
September is a good time to get hedges back into shape, so that they are neat and tidy ready for winter. All they want is a light trim. As with all power tools, safety is paramount. Make sure you wear safety glasses and sturdy gloves, clear trip hazards from the space where you are working and use a step ladders or even better, a platform, ensuring it is stable and on a level surface so you don’t overbalance. Make sure the power cable is laid over your shoulder, so you don’t cut through it. Don’t overreach while you are cutting and or use the trimmers above shoulder height. Start by pruning the top of the hedge level, then cut the sides, starting at one end, working from the bottom of the hedge upwards so the cut stems fall away, keeping the blade parallel to the hedge using the previously cut area as a level as a template; work in a wide sweeping action. It is important not to go too deeply into conifers, very few grow from old wood; you are more likely to have problems with brown patches if you prune after October.
Put a net over your pond before leaves start to fall, to stop them from falling into the pond. Use the netting that has covered your raspberries during the summer.
Pick apples as they start to ripen. You can tell when they are ready for picking if you lift and gently twist the fruit, which will detach when ripe. Another sign is when they start falling. You may need to pick over the trees several times, do so on a dry day, as moist fruit spoils quickly. Only store perfect fruit, use anything showing the slightest damage, immediately.
Happy gardening, Matt