Topical Tip: Raking leaves for good garden hygiene

Raking leaves equals good garden hygiene Raking leaves equals good garden hygiene

Raking up garden might not be your favourite task, but if you want to be sure of protecting your plants from nasty diseases and persistent pests, it's an absolute essential.

Autumn has arrived in style, with some wonderful colours gracing garden and countryside alike.

And as the leaves start to fall, with a few exceptions they should be raked up and composted, and used to improve your soil in the future. Unfortunately, there may be some leaves that will need to be either burned, or disposed away from the garden.

When raking your garden, pay attention to leaves that have suffered from fungal diseases (which regretfully may number quite a few given the wet weather we have had).

In particular destroy all rose leaves and horse chestnut leaves, as both harbour diseases that will reinfect if composted. If you have fruit trees that suffer from scab it is best to burn their fallen leaves as well.

You also get a double benefit, because if leaves are left lying around, they provide shelter for a number of unwelcome pests and diseases. And don't worry about wildlife such as hedgehogs, who will find shelter in your clean leaf pile to hibernate.

And for those of you who garden organically and so may not use fungicides at all, this is the single most important thing you can do to limit the spread of disease in your garden.

So, taking more care with your leaf clearing to give you both a cleaner garden and cleaner compost is a small price in time and patience for a healthier garden next year.


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