Professional Gardener - Check your trees

Storm damage Trees will need prompt inspection. Clear away debris that has already fallen and make safe any damage.

Calendar Set up next year's planner, highlighting all important dates as well as events.

Christmas preparations Make sure that all vegetation needed for decorating the house and other facilities has been identified and labelled. Consider staff rotas to provide cover over Christmas.

Audit Make time to carry out the annual audit of machinery and tools. Staff personal protective equipment (PPE) should also be checked and replaced as needed.

Plant sales Finalise sales reports for the year, noting what sold well and what did not, so the data can be used for production or ordering for next year. Review the way plants have been displayed and inspect benching, repairing or replacing as required. Consider whether other products - pots or garden ornaments - could be sold alongside plants. If looking to increase the range of products, note local artists or other businesses that may be interested in renting space.

Contacts Ensure that all contact files and details are up to date, including training consultants. As the winter sets in, it is essential that emergency numbers - including local tree surgeons - are on your phone and ready for use.

Flower garden Finish planting tulip bulbs this week. Continue lifting and dividing herbaceous plants. Lift dahlias for storage when foliage has been blackened by frost. Protect tender plants from weather.

Walled garden Start winter pruning of apples, pears, gooseberries and redcurrants. Plant new fruit trees and bushes. Cultivate vegetable ground as it is cleared.

Seeds Collect seeds and berries as they become available, treating and storing them as appropriate.

Repairs Gardens that have closed to the public for the winter can begin repairing picnic benches, seats, bins and other garden furniture, including nesting boxes. Such a task is often welcomed on wetter, colder days. It is also a good time to inspect fences and walls with a view to carrying out maintenance work. Timbers such as fence posts and pergolas should be treated or replaced if necessary.

Fungi watch Fruiting bodies can be an indication of infection. Now is a good time for an inspection.

Sally Drury, Technical editor, HorticultureWeek.co.uk/parks


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