What To Do in the Garden in October

The official start of autumn has arrived bringing with it cooler temperatures and a visible change in the garden. Rather than bright spring blooms you’ll find the stunning shades of autumn and the beginning of the first frosty mornings. This month sees our gardens wind down for the winter with a general change from greens to reds and oranges. 

The cooler temperatures and the threat of frost changes the focus for the garden with more tidying and preparation. Take a look at all the jobs you can do in your garden this October.

What To Do in the Garden in October

Plants and Flowers:

  • Hedging and bushes should be trimmed to keep them looking neat and tidy before the winter sets in. By removing large trailing stems and branches the plant will also be better protected from bending under the weight of heavy snow. 
  • If you didn’t plant your Daffodils in September then now is the time. Early spring flowering bulbs need to go in the ground now before it becomes too hard with the colder weather. However, if you are going to be adding Tulips to your garden, wait until the ground is cooler.
  • Less hardy plants should be covered with fleece or moved for added protection. If the autumn is particularly mild then this can be delayed until November. 
  • Lift overcrowded perennials whilst the soil is still warm and divide the plant. This helps to create a fuller looking garden next bloom and ensures that each plant is receiving enough nutrition and light to grow properly. 
  • Beginning adding mulch to your borders and plants, adding bark chips and leaf mould to insulate the plant roots ready for the temperatures to plummet.
  • If in the spring and summer you thought that one of your trees would be more practical and decorative somewhere else in your garden, then now is the time to move it. 

Lawn Care:

  • Collect fallen leaves and recycle them by storing in a bag transforming them into leaf mulch. This can then be used as a conditioner for your lawn or to protect the roots of your bedding plants
  • Depending on the weather this may be the last grass cut of the year. At this point in the year due to the varying temperatures it is best to cut the grass on a higher setting to leave length to protect it from shock and reduce dead patches.
  • Aerate your lawn with a garden fork or tool to reduce the risk of waterlogging and enable the grass plants and seeds to spread resulting in a fuller looking lawn next spring. 
  • Whilst you are maintaining the grass you can also begin repairing any obvious patches that you may have by raking up the current grass, and then applying compost and grass seed.
  • Apply Autumn lawn feed now as the grass will have time to respond before the soil temperatures begin to fall.
What To Do in the Garden in October

In the fruit and vegetable patch:

  • The spooky season has arrived and those cared for pumpkins that were planted in April will be ready to harvest by the end of the month. 
  • Remove the straw from the base of your strawberry and raspberry plants to increase their ventilation and stop rotting as the weather becomes damper. 
  • Ensure that any diseased, rotting and fallen fruits have been removed to stop diseases and fungus from overwintering and infecting next year’s crop. 

Pests and Weeds:

  • As the leaves begin to fall, ensure that you are continually clearing and removing them. Leaf piles make the perfect hiding place for pests including slugs and snails and reduce the amount of light the grass receives. 
  • Remove dead plant leaves and material to stop decomposition and fungal diseases growing
  • Tidy your plant borders removing any last traces of weeds and unwanted plants.
What To Do in the Garden in October

Watering Tips:

  • If the weather is particularly mild ensure to still give you plants plenty of water to prevent them becoming exhausted and then shocked by the future drop in temperatures.
  • Taking into consideration the needs of your different plants, a container plant in the autumn sun may need watering daily whereas a shaded shrub may only need a top-up weekly. 
  • It is also important to think about your soil types. Plants will use more water if more water is available to them. Clay soils can become waterlogged and therefore your plants need fewer top-ups, whereas sandy soils drain quickly and may need more frequent watering.


  • Before your herbaceous plants begin to die back for the winter, write down the locations of these plants so you don’t damage the roots during winter digging. 
  • If the weather is particularly cold, move tender plants into the greenhouse to stop them from being affected by the early cold weather.
  • Think about where you can position your compost bin for easy use and to add additional leaves and mulch. 
  • Clean out your water butts to make the most of catching autumn rainfall. This can be used to water your plants throughout the winter.

Something for the little ones:

  • If your pumpkin crop did particularly well this year then your excess crop can be hollowed out and filled with tasty snacks for the birds. This is a great activity to do together and your pumpkins can still be carved with funny and scary faces whilst encouraging the local wildlife to your garden.
  • When hollowing out your pumpkins for decorations you can also collect and dry the seeds together, ready for your crop again next year. This is a great way for children to see how their crops can grow from seeds and see the growing process from start to finish.

For any help, advice and gardening products you may need visit us at Holt Garden Centre. We pride ourselves on stocking a wide and varied range of products to help keep your garden looking its best, no matter the season. Check out our opening times here and pop in-store today.

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