September in the Garden 2013
September is the first autumn month and we can have early frosts especially if days are hot and sunny leading to clear nights, also mist and dew can form in valley bottoms. Occasionally we can experience strong gales so make sure tree stakes and ties are secure.
Kill moss in lawns by applying lawn sand but remember it is poor drainage that encourages the moss. Try to improve the drainage by aerating with a fork and brushing sharp sand into the hollows. Sow grass seed onto bare patches.
Keep deadheading roses that repeat flower and towards the end of the month hoe in a top dressing of Sulphate of Potash. Tie in climbers and ramblers to make a good framework for next year. Continue spraying against mildew and blackspot.
Pot up herbs for use indoors over winter.
Plant bulbs as they become available, early planting means that root systems are established before the winter sets in. Prepare pots and bowls for Christmas flowering; use bulb fibre, which does not go stale like ordinary compost.
Take cuttings of tender perennials and make sure you over winter them somewhere frost free.
If you need to move evergreen shrubs then lift them with a ball of soil at the end of the month.
Order bare root roses trees and hedging for November supply
Prepare beds for planting shrubs, perennials, hedges and fruit.
Hedges can be given their last light trim.
Pick Damsons and Plums as they ripen, if you leave them to drop you will have plenty of birds to feed on them but even more wasps. Prune after picking is over, if you prune in winter they are at risk from the fungal disease silver leaf. Cut out the old shoots of blackberries and loganberries after fruiting and tie in the new shoots ready for next year.
Train in new shoots of climbing plants that will not need a spring pruning. Make a fan shape as shoots that have been trained out horizontally often produce more flowers.
Prune Fan trained Peaches and Cherries removing some branches that are overcrowded and have fruited and training in new shoots to bear fruit next summer.
Trim back and divide perennials after they have finished flowering.
Start to lift main crop potatoes as the foliage dies down.
It is very important to feed your fish this month as September and October are the last chance that fish have to put on the weight they need to see them through the cold winter months when they do not feed. Net your pond to prevent leaves falling in.
Plant autumn onion sets, garlic and spring cabbage.
There are many plants still at their best in September. Perennials such as Aconitum, Asters, Anemone x hybrida, Helenium and Lobelia, Rudbeckia, Salvia and Sedum which are brilliant at attracting the late butterflies and bees. Butterflies have benefitted from the hot spell and August has seen clouds of peacocks, small Tortoiseshells, Painted Ladies and Commas on the Buddlejas so hopefully they will move onto the Sedums as they come into flower one of their favourites. Most trees and shrubs are coming to the end of their flowering but foliage colours are coming to the fore. Cotinus, Fothergilla, Viburnum, Euonymus and the much-underrated deciduous Azaleas all have great autumn colour. Berries on Berberis, Pyracantha, Viburnum, Malus and Sorbus all add to the autumnal feel as well as the early Apples start to ripen.
Make the most of the good weather and look forward to being able to plant without too much watering.