Trees, Shrubs and Roses
It is time to prepare ground for planting trees and shrubs, including hedging, if not already done. The planting itself can take place now for evergreens or in two months for bare-root deciduous trees, or planting can be delayed until spring if the weather is wet and the ground becomes sodden. Do not plant until spring in an exposed area as the young trees will be damaged by strong winds before they get a chance to get established. Check that trees recently planted are properly staked and stake any old shrubs that appear top-heavy. Check on wall trained climbers that their support is solid.
Bedding flowers last well in good late-season weather but any that is gone over can be removed soon in preparation for planting spring bedding. This is the main time for planting spring bulbs and containers for spring display - the garden shops all have their spring bulbs and bedding in now. Perennial flowers can be planted or lifted and divided in the case of existing plants. Remove messy tops but leaves good seedheads and flower stems for withered effect in winter.
If moss was a problem last winter and spring, sulphate of iron can be used to knock it back before the wet season begins. An autumn lawn fertiliser can be used to maintain a little growth through the winter and leave the lawn in good condition coming into spring. Do not use fertilizer on a wild flower lawn.Although the time for sowing a lawn is getting tighter as the weather gets cooler and more damp, there are usually still good opportunities. Trim edges where the lawn meets borders and paved areas.
Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
Vegetables often put on a late spurt of growth, especially if the weather is warm and moist. Warm weather can lead to brown rot of fruit, especially apples, and any rotten ones should be picked off the tree and ground and buried to prevent further transfer of spores. Fruit crops can be picked and stored, using flat shelves or trays for pears and plastic bags, open at the neck, for apples. Overmature vegetables should be chopped up and composted. Weeds should be removed or sprayed and the ground dug over roughly to allow it to weather during the winter. Strawberries can be planted now.
Greenhouse and House Plants
Stop feeding greeenhouse and house plants. Most of the greenhouse crops can be cleared soon such as tomatoes, chillies, melons and cucumbers. Throw out any old plants that are past their best or half-dead because they are a source of pests and diseases. Tidy up all debris and reduce watering to just keep pots from going bone dry. Place rooted cuttings in a bright position and any winter plants such as Christmas azaleas.