News Treehugger Voices How to Prepare for Autumn Storms in a Garden With windy weather on its way, now's the time to tidy up and plan ahead. By Elizabeth Waddington Elizabeth Waddington Facebook LinkedIn Writer, Permaculture Designer, Sustainability Consultant University of St Andrews (MA) Elizabeth has worked since 2010 as a freelance writer and consultant covering gardening, permaculture, and sustainable living. She has also written a number of books and e-books on gardens and gardening. Learn about our editorial process Published October 28, 2021 02:37PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Mint Images/Getty Images News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Autumn storms are on their way, and over the next few weeks, there are plenty of general maintenance jobs in my garden. Where we live in Scotland, we expect more stormy weather to arrive toward the end of October, and these often blustery periods of windy, rainy conditions characterize the transition into the winter months. For me, preparing for this time in the garden is very important. I will continue to grow plants over the winter months to come, but I must make sure that my garden and its structures make it through the wild weather unscathed. Here are some of the main ways I will be getting ready. Finish Bringing in Your Autumn Harvests Most of our apple trees have been harvested, but I will be making sure that I bring in the rest of the top fruit harvests before the autumn storms arrive. I'll soon pick elderberries, and will be harvesting in my polytunnel and outdoors, making sure that I have finished gathering anything that will not cope well with the storms' arrival. Tender plants which may still be productive should be brought indoors or put under cover. Check Over Trees and Shrubs One of the biggest jobs in my garden at this time of year is checking over the many trees and shrubs. Not all should be pruned at this time of year, but I will always make a point of examining everything carefully before autumn storms arrive. I will look for any dead, damaged, or diseased branches that might break off in strong winds and threaten to do damage to property or other plants. I will see where things have become overgrown, and make notes on where pruning might be carried out over the coming months to improve the health of the plants themselves or the ecosystem overall. Make Sure Garden Structures Are in Good Repair At this time of year, I also make a point of checking over my polytunnel to make sure that it is in good shape and will remain safe. I make sure that the covering is taut and well-secured, and I trim back any nearby vegetation that might pose a threat in a storm. I take this opportunity to clean and clear all growing areas, so no plants or structures whip around in strong winds and no loose items will blow around. I also check over our shed, chicken coop, and trellis structures to make sure there are no problems that will lead to further damage. All structures should be well-secured, and all roofing checked over carefully. Spotting problems before they arise makes it easier to prevent worse problems in future. Tidy and Store Items From Outdoor Living Areas We spend a lot of time outside over the summer months. And while we will still make the most of our space year round, we won't spend as much time sitting or enjoying recreation outdoors once autumn storms arrive. I make sure seats are all indoors, and any loose items are tucked away so they will not blow around and potentially cause damage in windy conditions. Tidying and storing items neatly prolongs their lives, prevents damage, and makes it easier to find items when you want them again in the spring, so good organization is key. Prepare for Making Use of Fallen Leaves Another job is making sure that I am ready to make use of all the leaves that will soon fall. Of course, some have fallen already, but those still on the trees will fall remarkably quickly once the windier weather arrives. Some of those leaves will be left where they are, to enrich the area. But I also collect many of them to make leaf mold. I rake up leaves and place them in a bin I have created from scrap wood and old fencing. These break down slowly to create a very useful soil amendment. If you have not yet set up systems to make use of fallen leaves, now could be a good time to get them in place. These are just a few of the priority jobs you should be thinking about in your garden if autumn storms are on their way where you live.