September is a wonderful month – it begins with the last of the summer weather and ends with the start of autumn. Look around you and you will see the horse chestnut trees beginning to change to their russet autumn plumage. The workload for the gardener does not ease up much in September. There are many jobs to be done to prepare for the winter and the coming spring.
For those of you who take great pride in a perfect lawn, then it’s time to undertake some purposeful lawn care. Firstly remove any thatch that has accumulated over the summer. If you have a problem with moss treat it before doing anything else. Then give your lawn a mow. Next remove the thatch by using a rake with spring-tines – this process is called scarifying. Rake up as much grass as you can and remove it to the compost heap. Next mow the lawn again, but in the opposite direction to the mow you did before you scarified. Aerate the lawn by plunging a fork repeatedly into the surface. Sprinkle a lawn dressing of sand, compost and topsoil over the grass and then brush it into the holes you have just made with your fork. You can also feed your lawn with a specially-formulated lawn food.
Plants that are still flowering will need to be watered regularly to maintain the display of blooms. Be careful not to overwater. September is the month to tidy up your flower beds. Remove any summer bedding that has finished flowering and consign it all to your compost heap. Deadheading can continue as some flowering plants will keep on going until the first frosts. You may be lucky enough to have roses still in bloom – keep deadheading them and you may be rewarded with a late flush.
September is also a good month to divide perennials that have become too large. This is an excellent way of creating extra plants. Polyanthus and primroses will divide easily, along with daisies, perennial asters and indeed a whole range of herbaceous flowering plants. Dahlias grown from seed are best treated as annuals and should be discarded once they finish flowering. Don’t be too hasty though, as deadheading will keep your dahlias flowering for a few weeks yet.
It is also time to plant out sweet william, wallflowers and cheirianthus in their final positions ready for a brilliant floral display next year. It is also time to plant bulbs for your spring display. Daffodils and tulips are regulars but if you have a damp area – maybe near a pond – try some snake’s head fritillaries. They will give a lovely display.
It is also time to prune your summer-flowering raspberries. Remember to leave the fresh green shoots as they will carry next year’s crop. Only cut out the old brown canes that fruited this year. Now is the time to attend to the runners on your strawberry plants. Every runner will have plantlets along its length. Using some small pots fix each plantlet into its own pot. You can hold down the runner with a small stone or a wire. Once they have rooted cut the runner and your plant will be ready to plant out.
Ground that has been cleared can be dug over ready for next year. Often exposing the soil in this way to frost during the winter can be beneficial. Spread some well-rotted manure or garden compost over the soil before digging. If you prefer the no-dig method, just spread the manure or compost and let the worms do the rest for you! Spring cabbage plants can be planted out now. In the greenhouse keep harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers. Water tomatoes little and often to prevent the fruit from splitting before you can harvest them.
Harvesting crops is an important September job. Autumn flowering raspberries will be ready to pick as will cultivated blackberries. Keep an eye on pears and apples so that you pick them when they are in perfect condition. Save the seeds from French beans and runner beans to use next year and save yourself some expense.
September is also a good month to start taking stock of which crops did well and which failed. The same applies to flowers – some will have thrived and others struggled or just did not even germinate. Keep a journal where you can make a note of the successes and the failures – otherwise you will probably forget by the time it comes to ordering next years seeds.
Hedges – especially privet – can be trimmed back this month so they remain tidy and thick. If you decide to plant any trees now, remember to stake them well to prevent wind rock later in the winter.
If you are looking for garden services in Manchester or Disbury, please contact the Lawn Rangers today!