Autumn is a great time in the garden as there is always a lot to do. Pruning and cutting back deadwood is required at this time of year.
There are three mains reason to prune. The first is to remove dead or diseased wood, the second is to try and promote more flowering and fruit, and the third is to have a shapely, attractive plant. As a general rule don’t cut more than a third off a plant.
The other thing about pruning is that it actually stimulates new growth. The reason it does that is because a chemical is contained in each terminal bud, or leader, and once you’ve removed that it allows the buds below to break. This means a much bushier plant.
When pruning always use sharp tools because if the cut is torn or bruised you’ll slow down the healing process. And to stop the spread of disease from one plant to another, always dip tools and secateurs in bleach or disinfectant and wipe them before moving onto the next plant.
If you’ve got an old lawn take a pH test. Take some soil, sprinkle it with liquid from the pH kit, and add some powder, which changes colour depending on the pH. The colour of our test was a limey yellow, which means the soil is acid, and needs correcting. Some lime will make the pH more neutral and suitable for grass.
Autumn is the time to feed the lawn. The reason is that the grass has slowed down with cold nights, but the roots are still growing well, so it’s a great time for repair because the soil is warm. Use a slow release lawn food to develop a strong root system and thicker grass.
Watch when paths or thoroughfares become compacted and the grass doesn’t grow. The antidote for that is aeration. That normally means grabbing a pitchfork, jabbing it in and loosening the ground. But another technique is to try strapping on aerating shoes and walk over the lawn.
You might also need to add lawn seed. Use lawn seed over any kikuyu, couch or buffalo lawn. That will mean that you will end up with a lush green cover over winter.