It's the time of year when our gardens are invaded by the leaves. Learn how best to clear these and discover the best tools for the job here.
Tidying up and clearing your garden in winter will be extremely beneficial by the time spring rolls around next year. Wildlife will be able to find food and shelter, weeds will be a breeze to handle and your risk of disease and pests will be reduced.
Take a look at our guide to clearing your garden.
- Deadhead your flowers
- Deadhead your flowers
- Remove lifeless leaves
- Pull up weeds
- Trim hedges
- Edge lawns
- Sweep paths
- Pressure wash your patio or decking
Or leaf blowing, as soon as those leaves start hitting the ground. Use a Ryobi ONE+ cordless leaf blower for a lightweight, convenient but powerful way to remove debris from your garden. It only weighs 1.6kg, it has patented GripZone for ergonomic comfort, and has a debris scraper to remove. This Ryobi leafblower is battery powered (they’re included), so all you have to do is switch them out when they run out of power.
However, if you leave the leaves where they are, they will cause all sorts of havoc with your lawn. If left in piles on your lawn, then they will kill the grass below, and left among the border plants they will attract slugs and snails, and could encourage rot in your plants.
Treat Your Lawn
Heavy dew can cause a fungal disease named microdochium, as the lack of air movement and moisture encourages it. You can help to prevent this by sweeping dew off the lawn, and if you do get an unsightly microdochium patch, you can use a fungicide.
Over the summer, you have probably been using the garden quite a bit, so the soil may be quite compacted, which means that your grass has less air, water and nutrients. You can aerate your lawn to reduce compaction by spiking your lawn with a garden fork.
Once your lawn has been swept (or blown) of leaves, raked for thatch and aerated, then you’ll need to feed it. You can find specially formulated winter feed, which contains iron sulphate to get rid of moss, and nutrients to keep it health over winter. Spring feed will contain nitrogen to encourage new growth, but this is not what you want in autumn and winter.
Looking After Your Birds
Putting out food for the birds over winter will really benefit your garden come spring and summer when you need them to help with your greenfly and aphid population. Use feeders and bird tables, but you can also leave the seeds from any sunflowers, rudbeckia, asters, coneflowers and globe thistles if you already have them in your garden. Make sure that there is water for them to drink or bathe in too. You could also plant berry-bearing plants as an extra source of food and other wildlife, such as firethorn, rowan and holly plants.
Protect Your Pond
Install a pond cover net to ensure that any debris does not make it to the pond. Falling leaves that settle on the pond floor will decompose and produce toxic gasses that will negatively affect the water quality. For the same reason, make sure that you prune any marginal plants around and next to your pond.
If there is a risk of your pond freezing over completely, then you should install an ice preventer to keep an area of the surface of the pond clear.
Maintain Your Tools
Both power tools and hand tools will need maintenance before they are left over the winter. All your tools should be cleaned – remove any soil, and wipe metal parts of hand tools with an oily rag. With your power tools, you need to ensure that the plugs are in good working order; and spray any metal surfaces with a light coating of oil. Always disconnect the sparkplug lead when the motor is not in use, and run down any petrol tanks before storing for winter.