Autumn is the ideal time to head into the garden

COMPOST LEAVES: Add fallen leaves to your compost to turn them into valuable compost for using throughout your garden during the spring.
COMPOST LEAVES: Add fallen leaves to your compost to turn them into valuable compost for using throughout your garden during the spring.

Believe it or not, autumn may be the most important season to ensure your garden is looking its best year round. After a long, hot summer, now is the time to tidy things up to make sure the garden's ready to head into its winter dormancy and to guarantee it will shine come spring. Here are the must-do jobs to add to your list:

Prune trees and hedges

Autumn is an ideal time to get stuck into pruning, allowing you to get rid of dead wood, to shape your trees and - in the case of fruit trees - to encourage more fruit production.

Pruning should be carried out on deciduous trees only when they are fully dormant - too early or too late can open the tree to fungal attack through the wound. You might also like to trim your hedges before the onset of winter to keep them compact and bushy at ground-level.

Plant spring bulbs

Get ready for spring by planting bulbs now ready for the warmer days later this year. Choose between early and late season varieties, from tulips to daffodils for truly spectacular display.

TIDY UP HEDGES: Autumn is a great time to prune trees and tidy up hedges to ensure they create bushy growth during the warmer months.

TIDY UP HEDGES: Autumn is a great time to prune trees and tidy up hedges to ensure they create bushy growth during the warmer months.

If you live somewhere that doesn't get a lot of frost, pop your tulip, hyacinth and daffodil bulbs into the fridge for a few weeks before planting to ensure they get an adequate period of pre-chilling.

Propagate cuttings

If you want to make more of your plants, consider taking cuttings during autumn ready to add to your spring garden in spring. Geraniums, salvias, succulents, rosemary and even banksias can be grown from cuttings.

For best results, dip the base of your cuttings in a hormone powder or gel, then plant in high-quality potting mix and keep moist at all times.

Lay mulch

Even in autumn, mulch is your garden's best friend helping it hold onto moisture so you don't have to water as often and working to keep the weeds down.

Mulching before the depth of winter is also important to protect vulnerable plants from winter's chill. Over time, mulch will break down and improve your soil by adding nutrients.

Fertilise your lawn

Don't forget your lawns in autumn, using a garden fork to aerate the surface before feeding with a long-lasting lawn food.

This is also an ideal time to get rid of any weeds to ensure they don't have a chance to overtake lawns during winter.

Compost leaves

Don't let all those fallen leaves go to waste. Instead, now is the time to add them to your compost pile where they will break down and create the black gold needed for spring.

Transplant evergreen shrubs, trees and perennials

Autumn's the best time to transplant evergreen shrubs and small trees, allowing their roots time to establish before the winter sets in.

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