When I think of what jobs to do in the garden in September, I focus on the harvest, which fruit and vegetables need to be gathered and stored.
I also love collecting seed heads from my favourite flowers. Trees, shrubs and flowers will produce many more seeds than is usual, seeds are a survival mechanism. If plants are stressed due to lack of water they will drop leaves earlier and have more seeds.
September is a beautiful month for me. The light is softer, the colours more muted.It’s nearing the end of summer and autumn is upon us. Following the very hot and dry summer, gardens are desperate for some rain. The temperatures are still high though and not much rain is forecast as yet. Though early mornings still carry a touch of mist that hangs on the countryside, until the sun dissipates it.
Trees will soon start to take on their autumn gold and russet gowns. Birds and hibernating wildlife are foraging for as much food as they can find. I absolutely love the sounds, tones and textures of autumn gardens, don’t you?
There is a bounty of wild fruits in the hedgerows, blackberry and apple crumble beckons. It’s a time for thankfulness, a calmness seems to descend after the riotous colour and glory of summer.
Gardens still abound with late summer colour from dahlias, roses, lilies, crocosmia, Viburnum Bonariensis and canna, and late summer flowering shrubs
Asters and sedums are about to burst into bloom, filled with nectar for our pollinators.
There is a wealth of plants, shrubs and trees that will give our gardens colour and variety throughout the autumn season.
What Jobs To Do In The Garden In September – Beds and Borders
Continue deadheading flowers to promote new buds and prolong the flowering season. Particularly with plants such as dahlias, rudbeckia and echinacea, roses and penstemon, all of which will continue flowering and providing interest until the first frosts.
Herbaceous perennials can be cut back but do bear in mind that these plants can provide a wealth of autumn and winter food and shelter for wildlife so don’t be too tidy, leave some uncut.
Echinops and eryngium provide seeds for birds and add interest though winter, they look lovely when caught with a frost on a cold morning.
September is an ideal month to take semi-ripe plant cuttings to provide new plants.
Many plants can be propagated this way such as heathers, lavenders, hebes and viburnums.
Divide herbaceous perennials. This ensures your plants remain healthy, they don’t become congested and it provides you with additional plants.
Find a great selection of autumn plants here.
Plants that you can add to the borders now for some autumn colour are:
- Ornamental grasses
See also my article
What Shrubs And Trees To Prune In September
Trim hornbeam and beech hedges to keep them neat. New foliage will still grow which will keep the hedges looking good and healthy throughout winter.
Prune lightly any summer flowering shrubs such as Helianthemum, Cistus and lavender.
Prune rambling and climbing roses. Read my article how-do-you-grow-roses-secrets-of-success for guidance on pruning roses.
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Order nematodes for control of slugs, lawn pests like leather jackets and chafer grubs and vine weevil larvae.
Use nematodes whilst soil and compost temperatures are still adequately high enough for them to be effective.
Clean bird tables, feeders and bird baths. Keep bird baths topped up with clean water.
Whilst the weather is still warm weed growth is active so continue to weed paths, driveways and patios to keep them looking neat and tidy. An electric-weed-burner makes the job of weeding easier and more tolerable.
Sweep/clear leaves that are starting to fall, compost them.
Net ponds now to prevent any leaf fall getting in them.
Autumn Lawn Care
Autumn lawn care begins now, one of the most important jobs to do in the garden in September is your lawn maintenance, if the grass is still growing strongly do it this month.
Scarify lawns to rake out any thatch and moss. Read my product review for the bosch-avr-1100w-verticutter-scarifier-and-lawn-raker-review
Aerate by spiking with a garden fork. This eases compaction and gets air and new life into lawns.
Continue mowing and trim the edges. A lawn will grow at temperatures as low as 5degrees, so unless we have a harsh, snowy, icy winter they will warrant mowing.
Lawns can also be top dressed and seeded to keep them healthy and have them ready to grow lush and green in the spring.
Feed with an autumn feed which is high in potassium, low in nitrogen.
What To Do With Vegetables and Fruit In September
Pick apples and pears as they ripen. Use any damaged/bruised ones first and store the unblemished ones. Store in a cool, dark area, in boxes or crates or even make use of an old set of drawers or shelving, ideal for storing apples.
Pot up strawberry runners to provide new plants for next summer.
Harvest plums and preserve in jams, chutneys, or freeze for later use in pies and crumbles etc.
After summer raspberries are finished, cut the fruited canes back down to the ground. New, young canes can be tied into supports or wires.
After harvesting squash and pumpkins, leave them in the sun to cure, this hardens the skins which prolongs storage.
Plant onion sets in late September or October for an early crop in June or July.
Continue watering and feeding runner beans and French beans to get the best out of the last of them.
Any veg and fruit glut can be frozen or preserved, nothing beats homemade jams, jellies and chutneys. Check out some recipes here.
Pick blackberries as they ripen, try not to eat them all before you get back to the kitchen.
Remove any remaining old crops, clear paths in the veg garden, remove support canes and ties if not being used and weed.
Clean and tidy out cold frames and green houses in preparation for autumn sowing.
Empty pots and containers of old compost, it can go in the compost bins, clean and disinfect pots and crocks to prevent disease and viruses.
Money Saving Pro Tip
Garden centres will hold end of summer sales on perennial plants. You can grab some great bargains. I have been shopping for plants and found some lovely perennials at knock down prices, I have split them into 2 or 3 smaller plants and potted them on in readiness for planting next year.
Order/buy trees, they do best if planted in autumn.
Sow your wildflowers in autumn for a beautiful Wildflower Garden in spring which will delight your senses and give food, habitat and shelter to insects and pollinators.
Plant Autumn flowering containers. Autumn Plants Containers
Build/create or buy compost bins now if you do not yet have any. Making your own compost is easy and very satisfying.
Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs. Propagating new plants is a satisfying part of gardening. Hardwood cuttings are taken in autumn, so you can start planning this month what plants you want to take cutting from. Some examples of shrubs that can be propagated this way are:
Install water butts if you haven’t already done so. These will then be in-situ ready to collect winter and spring rainfall.
Be water wise.
As you can see, there is plenty to keep us busy in our gardens this month.
Enjoy the lovely weather, long may it last and we are granted an Indian Summer.
Make the most of what is left of the evening daylight. I love to sit out in my garden in the evenings, just as it is becoming dusk. Everything quietens, slows down. I can listen to the birds evensong and take stock of my day. It’s peaceful.
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