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Autumn feeding in your garden

Published: 12th September, 2018

Rhodedendron - AzaleaMany gardeners think of spring and summer as the principal feeding season for their plants. But in the UK where we experience relatively mild, wet winters, even though growth does slow down our plants do continue to grow and develop using energy to establish roots instead of flowers, fruit or leaves and therefore require an adequate supply of nutrients in the plants root zone.

So, if you want a beautiful, healthy garden which has a head start next spring, consider fertilising your entire garden now, including your lawn, bulbs and seedlings, with an organic fertiliser containing the three most important nutrient elements: Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P) and Potassium (K). Zinc is especially important as it assists plants to resist low temperatures.

Ericaceous plants

Ericaceous plants such as rhododendrons, camellias and Azaleas particularly benefit from autumn feeding. They will be forming their flower buds for next spring right now and it’s important for them to be able to access nutrients so that they can initiate plenty of flowers for you for next spring. Apply in the form of organic compost or manure.

Autumn lawn fertilising

If your lawn looks slightly worse for wear then autumn is the perfect time to revitalise it.  Foods that are rich in potassium encourage a healthy root system setting your grass up for the winter ahead. Avoid lawn feeds rich in nitrogen at that time of year as this encourages faster growth above ground which in turn makes it more susceptible to frost.

Perennials

Perennials will also appreciate having a high phosphate fertilizer with low nitrogen content. You will be rewarded with stronger plants in the spring producing more flowers than you ever thought possible.

Feeding Spring bulbs

September and October is the time to plant spring bulbs. They also need phosphorus applied at the level of the roots to help them get established before winter sets in. Fertilising at bulb level while you are planting the bulbs is the most effective method. Mix rich compost with the soil to give your spring bulbs plenty of food to carry them until spring.

Chemical fertilisers are unquestionably the most economical and easiest way of supplying plants with nutrients. But the continuous application of chemicals has implications on the long-term health of the soil. And as growth is very limited during the autumn and winter, plants need only small amounts of nutrients, so It makes far more sense to supply food which releases small but steady does of nutrients and at the same time enhances the condition of the soil. This is where natural fertilisers, in the form of organic matter come into their own. High percentages of organic matter improve the soil structure and its aeration as well as balancing the PH.

Autumn really is an ideal time for feeding your garden. Even though the days are shorter and it feels like the gardening year is over, put in the time now and next spring you’ll realise it’s well worth the effort!

For a whole host of feeds, fertilisers and winter protection products visit Henry Street Garden Centre.

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