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Novice gardener with Autumn/winter prep questions

COVIDgotmegardeningCOVIDgotmegardening Warminster, WiltshirePosts: 40
Hi folks, 

now that Summer is behind us and the temps are dropping (especially overnight) I have some questions that may be obvious to you guys, so here we go. So as not annoy anyone I’ll put the questions in one thread rather than multiple bombardment.Purchase in June the Cherry tree has settled in but we didn’t expect any fruit this year. What do I need to do to the tree to protect it for winter. Do I need to prune it at all??

Secondly, My Blueberry. Again purchased in June and we have had fruit from it which got eaten immediately by me. Zero fruit at the moment and not expecting any. The leaves have slowly gone a lovely red colour. As above what do I need to do for winter please.

Thirdly. Our Dahlia has now started to wilt despite deadheading which has produced a fantastic amount of flowering. Is it time to prune and if so how much?. We’ve never owned one before so it’s all new.

Fourthly and lastly. Our Clematis. As above it’s taken and grown in height and flowered, but it is a bit brown at the bottom. The rest of the plant is fine so is something wrong. I’m wondering if it’s underwatered, but that’s a guess.

Thank you for looking and I appreciate any replies.


  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    Cherry and blueberry are hardy, and don't need winter protection.  Your cherry is doing what one of my two has done - is it a morello? - behaving like an evergreen, in that it grows ever-lengthening bare branches with all the leaves at the ends.  I can't find this described in anything I've read, so this year I've taken a chance and cut half of the branches to half their length.  I don't know if that's right, but someone else might know.

    Dahlias are perennial, which means the top growth dies off in autumn and the tubers remain dormant until next summer when they make new growth.  Leave the top growth as long as it's green, because it will be feeding the tubers. If you cut it off too soon you won't get such a good display next year.  Where I live, we enjoy very mild winters and I can get away with leaving dahlias (and pelargoniums) in the ground, but in most of the UK it's best to dig them up, clean off the soil and store them somewhere dry, cool but frost-free.

    I'll leave the clematis to the experts, they're too complicated for me.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,289
    edited September 2020
    The clem is just becoming dormant, and they always drop lower foliage as the season goes on. Perfectly normal  :)
    Just follow the correct pruning for it in spring if it's one that requires any. It will benefit from some proper supports too, to cling onto. Wires attached vertically onto vine eyes would probably do.
    It may struggle a fair bit being so close to that post and without a clear space round it. It will have competition from the grass, and is also in danger of being 'pruned' accidentally when you cut that  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,059
    The blueberry would probably be better in the long run without grass right up to its base, too.
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,166
    Flower knowledge nil, but I recall working in a market garden (Sussex) in the 50's when all the dahlias were taken up at this time of year, or thereabouts, and stored away.  This enabled the tubers to be split for more plants before replanting the following spring if that's of any use to you?
  • SydRoySydRoy Posts: 167
    A mulch around the Cherry might be beneficial.
    Is the Clematis a group 3. I'm guessing it is?
  • @JennyJ is correct, try to remove the grass or it will out-compete for nutrients.  A Blueberry is a reasonable sized shrub, with a round habit.  Not ideal to have it up against a post, as if it was a climber.  I would take this opportunity to move it if you can, to a open, sunny site with good drainage.  Add some ericaceous compost to the hole, and water regularly if it is a dry Autumn.  It should look after itself over Winter.  In Spring, start weekly feeds with a feed specifically for ericaceous plants.  Remember to net it when the fruit start developing, otherwise the critters will get 'em all.

  • COVIDgotmegardeningCOVIDgotmegardening Warminster, WiltshirePosts: 40
    Thanks everyone. The grass doesn’t go up to the Blueberry plant, that photo is actually a bit of an illusion (a bit like the crowded beach photo some weeks ago), but noted all the same. I think I’ll move it though as it was told to me it was a climber, clearly not. Time to go perusing around my go to (Wilton garden centre) new best money drain.....
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