This is the OCTOBER installment of Horticulture Week's month-by-month guide to essential maintenance and management tasks for parks, gardens and grounds maintenance staff.

Update pesticide records
Update sowing records
Check chainsaws and staff training or establish contacts with contractors ahead of winter gales
Plan for renovations of furniture, fences, walls and statuary

Clear autumn debris as it arises
Prepare compost bins/bays for autumn debris and cleared material
Dig over empty areas

Trees, shrubs and hedges
Inspect for wind damage and check ties and stakes
Rake up fallen leaves and compost
Move evergreen shrubs
Prepare ground for planting bare-root stock
Plant evergreen and deciduous hedges
Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs such as buddleja, escallonia, forsythia and philadelphus
Clip conifer hedges again if necessary
Collect berries/seeds

Beds and borders
Cut back and divide overgrown perennials
Label, lift and store dahlias, gladioli and summer-flowering bulbs
Finish planting spring bedding
Lift and store tender perennials
Sow sweat peas under cover
This is a good time for constructing new beds and re-stocking tired borders

Wall plants
Finish pruning climbing roses
Plant container-grown climbing plants

Plant lily and tulip bulbs
Label, lift and store tender summer-flowering bulbs
Finish planting spring-flowering bulbs

Move indoors if necessary and insulate large pots
Plant with spring bedding and bulbs

Greenhouses and conservatories
Thoroughly clean inside and out
Scrub down benches
Check glass and putty
Apply insulation if necessary
Continue venting on warm days
Inspect plants regularly
Bring in citrus fruit trees

*Jobs should only be undertaken when ground and weather conditions are suitable and will vary according to location and may vary significantly from year to year. And remember that while the year nicely divides into 12 months, activities often overlap.

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