From Michael Coulter

April is when Autumn really gets going, the days are noticeably shorter and night temperatures cooler. The trees are starting to colour up and drop so we need to be preparing the garden for Winter.

As plants finish their flowering or fruiting then we need to cut back perennials, prune berry fruits, do clean up sprays on fruit trees so that any pest or disease will not be carried over to the next season.

In the vegetable garden any unused ground may be sown in a green crop and as crops finish the ground cleared of weeds.

The lawns are starting to grow quicker so now is the best time to get on and repair, feed, rake out the thatch and treat for broad leaf weeds.

Spring bulbs may still be planted and Winter flowering annuals should be now finished planting by the end of the month.

Autumn is also a good time to plant some trees and shrubs so that they will have time to make new roots before the ground gets too cold and wet.

Tomato plants will be getting to the end of their season so remove the old plants and dispose of the vines, especially if they had any disease, best not to compost them.

Dig potatoes if the ground is likely to get water logged and store in a cool dark place, I generally only lift my potatoes as I need them as I have found that they keep better that way for me.

There are many other tasks that are best done before winter, one I consider important is to cut back over hanging branches on trees or shrubs along pathways and to treat the paths for moss so that we are safe when the weather is wet and cold.

Any frost tender plants will need to be moved inside if in containers or covered for protection once the harder frosts start. Summer bulbs, corms or tubers should be lifted and stored for the winter before the hard frosts can damage them.

Happy gardening, Michael Coulter

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