October is the official month of autumn. The first frosts are approaching and the trees are alight with vibrant reds and oranges as the leaves begin to fall.
It might seem like things are starting to slow in the garden but there are still plenty of jobs to be doing and fruits to be harvesting. Follow our Gardening Jobs for October to see what you should be keeping on top of this month.
Gardening Jobs in October
Native Tree Saplings in October
Losing leaves but long-lasting. Our native tree saplings will have almost lost all of their leaves right now but not to worry, this is a natural cycle of the year and they will be flourishing again next year and for many years thereafter.
Place outside. Even though it’s getting colder, our native tree saplings a hardy and can withstand the UK winter. If you don’t have the time to plant right now just make sure the tree is outside and that you water the rootball when it starts to dry out.
Planting your sapling. Our native tree saplings can be planted at any time of the year, however, make sure that the ground isn’t waterlogged or frozen. Plant into a large pot and place in a sheltered location of the garden for the winter.
Rose Bushes in October
It’s the end of the blooming season and rose bushes are starting to lose their leaves for the winter. Prune back and deadhead any spent blooms that are left to give the rose bush a good growing start next year. Just like the sapling, our rose bushes are meant to last for many years. Even if they look a little lacklustre now they will be blooming again next year.
Place your rose bush outside immediately after delivery, even if though it’s cooling off our rose bushes are hardy, English grown and can withstand the UK climate.
Plant your rose bush in a large pot or in the ground depending on the variety. If the ground is waterlogged or frozen then hold off until it warms up and dries out slightly.
Regular Garden Maintenence in October
Sweep up fallen leaves from across the garden to prevent the production of fungus and also slugs and snails. Do this as regularly as you need to and use your collection for leaf mould to be used across the garden.
Tidy up fallen rose bush leaves to prevent diseases from such as blackspot from spreading and overwintering. Destroy these leaves and do not compost.
Turn your compost bins to aerate and help the break down of materials.
Add healthy fallen leaves to the compost heap as brown, dry material.
Get your garden prepared for the first frosts of the season. Ensure that add any additional protection to trees and plants.
Prepping Soil and Beds in October
Improve your soil. Autumn is the perfect time to start improving the soil conditions. Looking after your soil now will look after your plants for the rest of the year. Dig through loads of organic matter like well-rotted manure to give good, rich topsoil over time.
Start mulching your borders and soil with bark chips, leaf mould or well-rotted manure. This will insulate the roots for the winter and keep any weed growth in check.
Avoid feeding and fertilising at this time of year. This can encourage new leggy growth on plants that won’t harden off in time for the winter.
Watering Trees and Plants in October
Reduce watering as the growing season comes to an end and the garden is becoming dormant. Check plants weekly if the weather is still particularly warm and dry.
Do water early-flowering shrubs such as camellias so that the plant can produce strong healthy buds for springtime.
Pruning Trees and Plants in October
Prune lavender. The best time for pruning lavender is once the flowering period has finished. This will prepare it for the winter.
Shape and prune holly hedges throughout October to keep the lines straight throughout the winter. Do not conduct this too vigorously as cutting through the centre of the leaves will cause brown edges.
Prune deciduous hedges to keep them tidy before the winter.
Prune climbing and rambling roses once the flowering season has ended. After pruning, tie in the stems before the wind picks up and causes damage.
Potted Plants in October
Raise up on bricks if there has been a lot of rain this month to avoid the soil from becoming waterlogged and roots standing in water.
Protect from early frosts, mulching your plants can help protect the roots from frost. This can also be done by wrapping horticultural fleece around the pot.
Protect tender potted plants when it starts to get cold, move them to a sheltered location of the garden.
Planting and Transplanting Trees in October
Bare root trees and plants will be available to buy from the end of this month. Start preparing the ground ready for planting. Bare root plants are best planted at this time of year as long as the ground isn’t frozen.
Container trees and shrubs can be bought year round and planted at most times of the year. Avoid planting bare root and container plants if the ground is waterlogged or frozen.
Avoid planting too close to the wintertime to allow anything to establish before it gets too cold.
In the Fruit Garden
Cut back the canes of your summer fruiting raspberries. Leave new green canes for next years crop and tie in with support wires.
Move citrus trees indoors to protect from cold and frost. Choose a bright, frost-free area away from central heating or draughts. Reduce watering but do not let the plant dry out completely.
What to Harvest in October?
Harvest your apples and pears. October is the time for late season apples and pears to start ripening, harvest throughout the month by gently holding the fruit and twisting away from the branch. If the fruit comes away easily then it’s ripe.
Late season apple trees that you can expect to ripen around this time are Braeburn, Falstaff, Winter Gem and Golden Delicious.
Late cropping pears to expect this month are Conference and Concorde.
Pick damsons and sloes that are littering branches and hedgerows, October is perfect for foraging and collected your berries for a batch of sloe gin or delicious damson wine. See our Damson Wine Recipe here.
Autumn fruiting raspberries will be ripe for the picking throughout the month. They won’t all ripen at the same time so make sure to check your plants regularly and pick them as they ripen.
Harvest grapes from vines. Make sure not to pick too early as they will not continue to ripen once picked. Taste a couple and see if they are ready then harvest when ripe.
Protecting new Plants in the Autumn
Protect half-hardy, tender plants as the weather starts to cool off and the rain becomes more prolific. They can be protected using horticultural fleece or brought into a frost-free greenhouse.
October Looking Good List
Evergreen trees will truly shine this month as the rest of the trees around them start losing their leaves. Holly trees, bay trees and olive trees will all be looking great this month.
Japanese Maple Trees are currently going through their autumn transformation this month and with each variety is a different, vibrant autumn display. The Little Princess Japanese Maple and Orange Dream Japanese Maple both produce stunning autumn foliage.
Apple Trees might be losing their leaves soon but the branches will be adorned with plenty of fruit ready for the picking.
Encouraging Autumn Wildlife
Plant native trees such as elder, blackthorn and rowan trees. The berries growing on the branches will provide local wildlife with plenty of food. Even though most birds will soon be heading off south for the winter there are plenty more getting ready to hibernate.
In the Greenhouse
Clean out your greenhouse as it starts to empty out. This is the perfect time to start disinfecting and cleaning the glass. Not only does this prevents any pests and diseases over winter but it allows more light to come in.
Remove any greenhouse shading to allow in as much sunlight as possible.
Check your tender plants before adding them to the greenhouse, pests such as red spider mite, mealybug and scale insect can overwinter on the leaves when picked up from the garden.
Dampness in the greenhouse can increase the risk of mould developing. Keep well ventilated and dry until it becomes too cool.
Indoor Gardening tips for October
Reduce watering of houseplants as the growth slows and days become shorter.
Place tropical houseplants on trays of wet pebbles to create a more humid environment as the central heating is switched on.