I f you think September and October is the time to start ‘putting the garden to bed’, think again. It’s a shame this phrase has stuck because now is the perfect time to be planting. The soil is still warm from the summer and there’s usually more rain. Warm soil and plenty of moisture are perfect conditions for roots to get established.

At this time of year, it might not look like plants are still growing, but the most important part of them will be: the roots. Roots continue growing all through the autumn and winter, even if the plant looks completely lifeless. This root growth is essential as it provides the foundations to support new growth once the temperatures warm up in the spring. As a result, autumn planted plants have a great head start over those planted in spring. It also gives them resilience to cope with adverse weather conditions and we’re certainly seeing more of those recently.

I understand the temptation to do all your planting in the spring; as the nights draw in, we tend not to think of our gardens, but if you plant them now the results will be better next year. If you can add plenty of well-rotted manure or home-made garden compost they’ll perform even better still.

And this goes for all plants, including trees, and the world needs more trees, as the saying goes; the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, so get planting!

If you’d like a friendly garden doctor to help you make informed decisions email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Autumn Planting by Nick Turrell