From the garden: Neil’s maintenance tips for September

With just a little general maintenance required, the warmer months will have given you an opportunity to take a step back and admire your thriving garden in all its glory. However, as we head into autumn and see the days begin to get shorter, and the leaves turn brown, yellow, and red, there’s now plenty for you to be getting on with in your garden!

As the temperatures gradually get chillier (though the weather is unpredictable at best for most of the year in the UK), a good place to start is by adjusting the frequency in which you water your plants, and the methods you use to care for your lawn, in preparation for this.

Nonetheless, it isn’t too early to also start getting your garden ready for spring! This means you should be tidying your beds and borders by weeding them regularly, and feeding and deadheading container plants to keep them looking fresh.

To prepare you for the seasons ahead, Neil Gallagher from our grounds maintenance division gives us his run down on the things you’ll need to stay on top of this month…

Neil's gardening maintenance tips

Neil: Grounds Maintenance Manager

Aerate your lawn

In the summer months, you would’ve been mowing the lawn at least once or twice a week, as well as cutting it to a length of between 2.5 and 3 inches. However, as the rain typically returns in September, and grass What to do in the garden in September: aerate lawnsgrowth will start to slow down, you can now raise the height of your blades when mowing.

Another thing to be wary of is your lawn becoming waterlogged because of increased rainfall. This will result in patches of dead yellow grass, as well as an overgrowth of moss. To prevent this becoming an issue, you’ll need to rake the surface of the lawn to remove thatch, then aerate the lawn by spiking it with a garden fork. Remember; the deeper the spikes, the better the water absorption.

Now is also the perfect time to feed your lawn with an autumn fertiliser. Make sure this is rich in both potassium and phosphates, as well as low in nitrogen; this will better protect the grass from frost and icy conditions.

Plant spring-flowering bulbs

It might seem a little early to do so, but September is the perfect time to start planting spring-flowering bulbs! This is because although the weather is getting chillier, it should still be relatively mild and dry, so try to ensure you get your planting done by the end of the month at least.

What to do in the garden in September: water your plantsOptions of spring-flowering bulbs you can plant this month include daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, tulips, bluebells, and narcissus, to name but a few. Generally, these should be planted at 3 times their depth, and this should be done when they’re dry and in a dormant state. However, they’ll need to be watered regularly to prevent them drying out when in active growth.

Once your bulbs are planted, you want to keep them at their healthiest, so keep an eye out for snails, slugs, and other pesky pests!

Water with care

This month, it’s vital that you keep watering new plants to ensure they thrive, and this should be done with stored rainwater whenever possible. Rain water is typically the preferred option as it’s free from hard water elements (calcium and magnesium), which damage the structure of clay soils. It also has a neutral pH level; if this is too acidic or alkaline, it can affect plant growth.

What to do in the garden in September: plant spring-flowering bulbsIn terms of indoor plants, you need to be wary of overwatering them; this can cause root death. Simply reduce the frequency in which you water them, and allow the compost to dry before re-watering your indoor plants.

Protect your ponds 

Weeds are rife in the summer, so you should already be removing these from the surface of your pond on a regular basis. If this task is neglected, more nutrients will enter the water, and you’ll quickly find yourself faced with an algae problem!

Increased nutrients (which cause algae to form) can also be due to there being a build-up of leaves at the bottom of the pond. To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to place a net over your pond to catch any falling leaves before they have a chance to drift to the bottom.