What to Do in the Garden This Week - October 16th

Published on October 16th 2020
A close up of a dahlia flower
It's the time of year for tubers and bulbs, timely action on lawns and hedges and realising the value of evergreens as leaves fall. Do read my more detailed Garden Calendar Tips elsewhere on the app but most of all, enjoy your time outside. Gardening is Good for You! #GIGFY

Bulbs and tubers

A lady and children planting flower bulbs
Bulb planting in grass
  • If your borders look full and there appears to be no room for bulbs, then pot them into largish pots or pond baskets. You can then drop into the gaps in your garden, which will inevitably appear as winter approaches. Taller tulips and daffodils can easily be grown this way.
  • If badgers and grey squirrels dig up tulip bulbs and crocus corms, plant them (the bulbs and corms) in a buried cage made of chicken wire. The bulbs will find their way through the holes and also be protected.
A squirrel eating crocus flowers in the grass
A grey squirrel eating crocus blooms
  • Lift Dahlia roots and store them in a frost-free place for winter. Cut the tops back to about 8-10 cm and stand them upside down for a few days to let the excess water drain out of the stems.
Dahlia flowers
Pom pom and decorative dahlias
  • Dust lifted bulbs, tubers and corms with yellow sulphur to prevent rotting.
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Lawns and hedges

  • Tidy up hedges and renovate those that have got out of shape. Among the conifers, only yew will respond. Renovate one side at a time to allow recovery time.
Renovating an old yew hedge one side at a time
Renovating an old yew hedge one side at a time
  • Plant or thicken up hedges now. October is the best time for planting hedge plants grown in pots.
Planting a Firethorn hedge
Planting a Firethorn hedge
  • Treat lawns with an autumn feed and moss killer. The feed should be high in potash for good root growth but low in nitrogen.
  • For moss control, I particularly recommend M O Bacter, which has a biological mode of action. There’s a new liquid formulation for smaller lawns. You don’t need to rake the dead moss out with this one!
A mossy lawn
Moss on a lawn should be controlled now


  • Plant evergreen shrubs now. Avoid those that are less hardy as they are best planted in spring.
  • Consider planting some clipped topiary specimens as they will look great in winter and also all year round.
Topiary trained evergreen plants
Clipped topiary trained evergreen plants
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