NOVEMBER/DECEMBER HEAD GARDENER PLANNER & CHECKLIST

Greenwich Park - image: Flickr/Dan Derrett (CC BY 2.0)
Greenwich Park - image: Flickr/Dan Derrett (CC BY 2.0)

Ditches & drains The recent wet weather may already have caused you to pay attention to ditches and drainage systems, but if you have had no problems to solve, make sure that you inspect all gullies and outfall pipes for blockages now.

Remove leaves and debris from grilles and guttering and clean out ditches where vegetation may restrict flow or where silt has built up.

Continue tidying Remove leaves from lawns and flower beds to use for composting. Finish tidying herbaceous borders, cutting dead or dying stems. Consider thinning overcrowded shrubberies by lifting and transplanting dormant shrubs to other parts of the gardens. Cultivate any free ground in borders and vegetable gardens.

Lawns & grass paths Mow as conditions allow and take advantage of any favourable breaks in the weather to aerate, especially where decompaction is necessary. Consider applying an autumn fertiliser, depending on function and expectations of the grassed area.

Water features Remove old leaves and thin out oxygenating plants. Overhaul pumping equipment for fountains and waterfalls, and drain pipes for winter months.

Rodents Consider laying bait boxes for rodent control.

Hedges, trees & shrubs With most leaves fallen, now is an excellent time to inspect deciduous hedges, trees and shrubs – being able to see into hedges or through branches, it is easier to assess what needs to be pruned. Take photos as reminders. Clean out the bases of hedges. Inspect trees and shrubs for fruiting bodies, which can indicate infection.

In the workshop Prepare for any in-house machinery servicing by checking filter and oil stocks or arrange for the local dealer to carry out maintenance during December or early January. Check, clean, sharpen and grease hand tools, and sand down any rough wooden handles and shafts. Note those tools that will soon have to be replaced and source new ones.

Coping with ice Order in or top up stocks of grit or de-icers and make sure equipment such as snow blades, blowers and throwers are working. More managers are turning to liquid de-icers, such as ThawEx Liquid Ice Melt, as a cleaner alternative to grit and salt. Keep snow shovels handy.

Christmas party Ask staff whether and where they would like a Christmas party this year. Research venues/caterers and make bookings.


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