Gardeners' World: Monty Don advises on pruning lavender
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Despite being in the depths of autumn, there are still a lot of important jobs to be completed now to make sure the garden is prepped and ready for the colder months. According to Leigh Barnes, Jacksons Fencing, gardeners should pay “attention” to fencing and trellises now before heading into winter.
The expert told Express.co.uk: “Firstly, I would advise paying particular attention to your fencing or trellises throughout the garden. During summer, you might have supported climbing plants or grown fruit and vegetables with fencing or a trellis.
“In order to ensure that the integrity of the timber fencing is prolonged and not harmed, it is crucial to cut back these plants.
“Leaving plant matter on your fence during the wetter winter months runs the risk of creating ‘in-ground’ conditions, and this can start to damage the fence itself.
“Whilst you’re pruning, also cut back any trees that are located close to your fencing. This will prevent any damage to your fencing if harsh winds cause branches to break and fall onto your fence.”
In terms of hedges, the expert said keeping things more natural will certainly benefit any visiting wildlife.
In the depths of water, thrushes, blackbirds, frogs, and other invertebrates will make use of the leaves across flowerbeds. The expert said this is the “perfect” habitat for them.
Leigh added: “Wait until the end of winter to prune these so that any visiting wildlife can benefit, and hold off on cutting hedges until the tail end of winter too, to provide shelter for visiting birds.”
When pruning, it is important to perform the correct technique to avoid damaging the plant or tree.
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If done too aggressively, it could permanently damage a plant and stunt its growth, making it susceptible to disease.
Gardening experts at Sutton Manor Nursery said: “Pruning is simply cutting leaves and leaves are what a plant needs to make food. Therefore, over-pruning your plant means it cannot make food.”
Gardeners should also make sure when they prune, they are doing so at an angle. This is so that water doesn’t collect and promote disease on the branches or twigs.
Another job many gardeners may be wondering about is when they should last cut their lawn for the winter.
Leigh recommended the mowing for the year should be finished at the beginning of November when there is a dry spell.
The expert explained: “Regularly rake leaves away and conserve them for subsequent projects, such as flower beds.
“During the winter, they will offer a layer of protection from any severe frosts or snow, and a thick covering of fallen leaves (compost or well-rotted manure can also be applied) will offer a rich mulch.”
It is important not to cut the lawn too short heading into the winter months as its growth will drastically slow down and cutting it too short will cut away the food supply to the grass.
The experts at Sutton Manor Nursery explained: “As well as taking away the lawn’s food supply, you also severely reduce its ability to produce more food as the leaf has been cut that helps to make the food.”
This means it then has to work harder to produce the new food. The experts said mistakes happen in gardening all the time, especially with new gardeners.
They added: “The main piece of advice that we can give is to learn from the mistakes that you make and make sure that you do not make the same mistake again.
“Knowing what works and what doesn’t is hugely valuable information that can help you grow your skills in the garden.”
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