Gardening: Expert advises on growing climbing plants

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Despite the cooler weather, autumn is actually a prime time for gardening and preparing for the months ahead. In autumn, gardeners will not only be preparing their gardens for frost and more extreme weather but for spring too. From now until November, gardeners can plant spring bulbs like daffodils, tulips and crocuses.

Some of the jobs gardeners need to do now will allow plants to grow “strong and healthy” root systems.

Morris Hankinson, managing director of Hopes Grove Nurseries, has shared his top tips for autumn gardening.

As well as his top tips, Morris shared the reasons why gardeners should plant in autumn.

The gardening expert said the conditions in autumn are “perfect” for new roots to grow and thrive because the soil is “still warm”.

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He told “While the days are getting shorter and it might not be obvious that anything much is happening with your new plants above ground, below ground they will be hard at work.

“Next spring, your new plants should have a ready-developed root system already taking up water and nutrients as the days get longer and they will develop and grow much more quickly.

“Autumn brings cooler temperatures and usually some rain – or at least a good dew each morning – which means you will not need to water them as much compared to planting in the spring when the weather is hopefully getting drier and warmer.

“With the shorter days and less sun, most plants will begin to shut down naturally and go into dormancy during autumn.

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“This is ideal because the plant’s energy will be focused on their root development instead of photosynthesis and making growth.

“Plants that develop from the roots up will almost always be healthier and grow more strongly.”

Morris’ autumn top tips:

Fertilise transplanted trees and shrubs

Autumn is a great time to transplant trees and shrubs that are in the wrong place in the garden.

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Once transplanted, Morris recommends adding bone meal well-mixed with the soil into the planting hole.

“This is a natural fertiliser that encourages root growth rather than top growth,” he said.

For “best results”, gardeners can add some mycorrhizal fungi at the same time.

Stake taller shrubs and trees

It’s important to securely stake taller shrubs in the autumn and winter months as they can become battered by winter weather like strong winds.

Add a mulch

Adding mulch like bark chippings, coir or well-rotted compost around the base of plants will keep root systems cool and moist next spring when the warm weather kicks in.

This also means gardeners won’t have to water plants as much.

Check plants

Morris said new plants need to be checked over every now and again over the winter months.

He said: “If the wind dislodges them then firm them back in with the heel of your foot so the holes don’t fill with winter rain.”

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