Autumn Must Do's

Stihl MCM Warrnambool

AUTUMN MUST DO: Pruning your tree branches
WHEN: Mid-Autumn
DESCRIPTION: Crown lift trees with a three-step cut
OUTCOME: Allow more sunshine and light onto your grass below

Charlie’s 4-Step Pruning Crown Lift Process

  1. Start by nominating the branches you want to remove – shake the branch to see the effect on the canopy and lawn areas below once it’s removed.
  2. To make your first cut, identify a cutting point about 12 inches away from the tree trunk. Beginning from the underside of the branch and cutting upwards, cut two-thirds of the way through the branch.
  3. Next we cut down from the top. Move along further out from your first cut by a few inches and cut from the top of the branch downwards. Cut all the way through. Tackling the cut this way stops the branch from tearing due to the forces created by the weight of the branch and avoids creating a ‘heel’ which is damaging to your tree.
  4. Now we make our final cut. Being careful to NOT cut flush to the trunk, make the final cut outside the collar of the branch (the bulbous area that connects the trunk to larger branches of the tree). NEVER remove the branch collar as the hormones for protecting the tree are contained in the collar.
    Starting at the top, create a cut that is just off 90 degrees, so that your newly cut surface is protected from rain until it heals. i.e the top of the stub you create should be slightly longer than the bottom of the stub.

TIP: The longer the branch, the greater the forces, the greater the chance for tearing and damage to your tree. To keep your tree safe, you can repeat the above steps to break your branch down into manageable lengths that ensure these forces don’t become a problem.


AUTUMN MUST DO: Shaping Your Plants
WHEN: Early Autumn – when the sun is still shining
DESCRIPTION: Lift and divide perennial plants
OUTCOME: Shape your plants to determine and enable their growth


Charlie’s 5 steps to lifting and dividing perennials


  1. Firstly reduce the size of your plant by pruning the foliage with secateurs. Doing this will prevent your plant from transpiring too much and wilting when you dig it up.
  2. Lift the whole plant out of the ground. It’s best to dig around with a garden fork and try to get as much of the root ball as possible. Using a fork rather than a shovel helps protect the roots.
  3. We want to next split the plant in half – or more pieces if it is larger. For smaller plants it’s best to divide the plant using secateurs – just remember to sharpen them immediately afterwards! Simply cut through the root balls and then separate the plant out with your hands. For larger plants – and native grasses in particular – you can use two garden forks back to back to prise the root balls apart.
  4. Then re-plant one of the plants back into the original space, piling up lots of soil around it, and either pot up the rest or move them to another spot in the garden for ‘free’ plants!
  5. Water in well to settle in the roots and mulch to retain moisture. Improving the soil with lots of compost will help to hold moisture around the plant and feed the new roots as they come out.


Shape Plants with Stihl at MCM Warrnambool
Fertilising Your Streels with Stihl at MCM Warrnambool

AUTUMN MUST DO: Fertilise your trees
WHEN: Mid-Autumn
DESCRIPTION: Fertilising your deciduous trees where they can absorb the nutrients
OUTCOME: So your trees can store energy through winter and be ready for spring

Tree maintenance is a vital Autumn must do.

The time to prepare your trees to keep them strong, healthy and happy throughout the Winter months ahead, it’s important to get out while the sun is till shining and properly fertilise your deciduous trees while they’re still growing and the soil is still warm.

Trees prepare themselves for Winter by pulling the nutrients out of their leaf growth and redirecting those nutrients back into the root system to store as energy throughout the Winter.

The tell-tale sign of when your deciduous trees, such as Magnolias and Liquid Ambers, are ready to fertilise is when you notice a slight change in the colouring of their leaves.

Once fertilised, you can rest easy knowing that your trees will have the energy they need to not only survive the Winter but thrive as soon as the Spring warmth returns.

AUTUMN MUST DO: Lawn preparation for the cooler months
WHEN: Mid-Autumn
DESCRIPTION: Neaten up and fertilise your lawn to prep it for winter
OUTCOME: Keep it greener and healthier for longer

After nurturing lawns through Summer and reaping the benefits during Autumn, now is the time to act if we want to keep our lawn’s lush, dense green colour as long as we can.


  1. Begin by trimming your lawn edges and mowing the lawn. Grass growth slows as the weather gets cooler, so set your mower height a bit higher to let your grass length remain a little longer. This will help your lawn maintain its dense green colour.
  2. As the soil can remain warmth into the autumn months, your grass is still growing, so fertilise it with a nitrogen rich fertiliser with some added iron – this gives the lawn its green colour.
  3. Make sure to water the fertiliser in well.
Prepare yourt lawn for Winter with Stihl at MCM Warrnambool
Clear Autumn Leaves with Stihl at MCM Warrnambool

AUTUMN MUST DO: Clearing and managing autumn leaves
WHEN: Mid to late Autumn – when your leaves change colour and fall to the ground
DESCRIPTION: Collect autumn leaves with a blower & gather to clear them
OUTCOME: Collected leaves and debris to keep your garden & lawns tidy


Autumn is synonymous with fine and sunny days perfect for pottering in the garden or relaxing in your outdoor space. It’s also well known for leaves. Lots of leaves. Everywhere! As well as wanting to keep your garden neat and tidy, there are several other very practical reasons why keeping your leaves in check is good garden practice.

  1. While a thin layer of leaf litter can act as a natural mulch for your lawn, too much leaf cover can eventually kill it off by blocking sunlight and airflow.
  2. Too much debris can keep water from flowing into the soil and can increase the chance of fungus.

Whipping out your blower to begin clearing and gathering these…is the best way to ensure healthy lawns and beds ahead of Winter.



AUTUMN MUST DO: Preparing winter firewood
WHEN: Late Autumn
DESCRIPTION: How to chop wood properly for winter
OUTCOME: Well cut wood for stacking, fireplaces and warming

There’s nothing like a roaring fireplace to keep you warm and toasty throughout Winter. If you’re lucky enough to have one at home, you’ll know that building a good woodstack is serious business!

Before cutting wood, it’s important to make sure your blades are sharp. You can tell by the size of the sawdust – big chips mean your chain is sharp, small chips and sand (like dust) means the teeth are dull and in need of a sharpen. It’s also a good idea to maintain your chain with a STIHL file sharpener and to service your chainsaw once yearly at your local STIHL dealer, just to make sure it’s in safe working order. STIHL is the number one selling chainsaw brand worldwide, so there’s really no one better for the job.

Remember, always wear the right PPE to ensure your ongoing safety and those around you, as well as to check in with your State or Territory’s forestry authority to make sure you’re collecting firewood in a way that’s safe and legal.

Charlie’s top tools for creating your woodstack

  1. Make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective gear.
  2. Clear your workspace of other branches or debris.
  3. Always start your chainsaw on the ground with your foot securely on the handle, after checking your chain tension and chain break.
  4. Mark your collected branches to the length of your fireplace and use your chainsaw to cut them into manageable logs.
  5. Never stand directly behind the chainsaw. Keep a solid stance slightly to the side.
  6. For safety, always cut at full revs and make contact with the log as close to the powerhead as possible.
  7. Try placing smaller logs amongst the bigger ones. This will aerate your woodstack which helps speed up the drying process.
  8. Firewood shouldn’t be cut last minute, the wood needs time to dry out. Wet wood doesn’t burn well and causes soot and smoke. Where possible, use dead limbs and branches to reduce dry time.
Prepare Winter Wood with Stihl at MCM Warrnambool