Autumn checklist

Clear leaves

Rake up fallen leaves and remove them to the compost bin. You can also make leaf mould by heaping the leaves up together within a wire frame and leaving for a year. Leaf mould makes an excellent mulch around plants.

Protect tender plants

Some years our first frost doesn’t arrive until early November. If you’ve been chancing the weather up until this point, now really is the last chance to bring tender plants such as geraniums and fuchsias under the cover of a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory.

Take cuttings

There aren’t many things that can be propagated now but taking hardwood cuttings offer an exception. Take cuttings from dormant shrubs, roses and fruit bushes.

Divide perennials

Perennial plants – those that live for more than a few years – can lose their lustre after a number of seasons. To keep them in tiptop condition divide established clumps every three or four years. Replant only the more vigorous outer sections and dispose of the tired middle.

Plant trees

November is the ideal month of the year to plant trees, particularly bare-root specimens that are now available. Prepare the ground with plenty of dug in compost and stake new trees if required. Never plant into soil that’s either frozen or excessively wet.

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