By Sarah Buchanan. First published by Rattan Direct on 12 October 2016.
Be prepared for wind
Autumn (and winter) winds mean wobbly plants, and leaves burned by the wind or stripped from their stems. Southerly (warmer) winds are unusual where I live, but a strong wind from any direction is shock and awe to young shrubs and tender plants wherever they are.
Being prepared for autumn winds is especially important because the weight of full leaf cover and rain on the leaves can create a top-heavy plant, easily broken by wind. Have you looked out one morning to see a much loved plant snapped in two? It won’t be anything like Hurricane Matthew here but some weather forecasters reckon the UK is in for a windy winter, so be prepared.
Wind damage in the garden can cost a fortune if sheds and fences need repairs. And flying fences will break your precious plants too – all that effort to create a lovely garden wrecked. Fixing wobbly boards and loose roofing now makes sense. Take time to check that everything is as it should be: fence panels are secure, wall and garden trellises are firmly fixed, arches and obelisks are all upright and not bending with the wind and shed roofs are waterproof and firm.
All this sounds fussy? Not at all. To be prepared is quicker and easier – after all, we know this weather is coming – than to clear up afterwards. And a bit of garden DIY on a sunny autumn day uses your skills and works up an appetite for an early supper. (Read our blog on alfresco dining for ideas on keeping your patio warm enough for outdoor autumn suppers.)
Toward the end of October the national home safety month resources will offer ideas and advice on how to make sure the outside of your house and garden are safe and secure – and not just from wind damage. If you can’t wait, read the home safety team’s January blog and tackle your garden repairs with kit from a local garden centre or DIY superstore.
Stake it out!
- Make sure young trees and shrubs are tied carefully and firmly to stakes that are themselves firm in the ground. If you don’t, strong winds can disturb the roots and rock the plants so much that they keel over.
- Cut down by at least half the tall summer growth on herbaceous plants such as delphinium and heliopsis and rudbeckia so that winds don’t whip them into a mush.
- Stake, or cut down, your lovely tall sunflowers. If you cut them down, put the heads on a bird table to feed garden birds.
Happy days of garden DIY next weekend?