Spring is here at last and there seems to be a lot of activity in the garden with plants awakening from their long winter slumber. Keep an eye on the weather as March is a temperamental month with some mild days followed by frosty or showery days.
Some retailers will start bringing bedding plants in. Do not be tempted to start buying these and planting them in the garden or outdoor containers.
Hoe germinating weed seeds and dig out perennial weeds whilst they are small. Once you have tided your borders it is a good idea to mulch them. Always mulch borders whilst they are still moist. Mulching borders helps suppress weeds, conserves moisture levels in the soil and prevents water evaporation.
Evergreen shrubs can be moved in March. Make sure to take as a large a root ball as possible. Protect from cold drying winds with either fleece or hessian and make sure they are watered well.
Feed winter flowering heather with a high nitrogen feed.
Hardy perennials will start putting on new growth. It is easy to tell if plants are over crowded. The centers usually die out and the new growth is around the edges of the clump. This means it is time to lift and divide the clumps. The divisions can either be planted in situ or some can be nurtured in containers. Make sure you protect your plants from bad weather as they are putting on tender new growth. As growth increases plants will need supports. Best to get supports and stakes in early so that plants grow naturally around them.
PESTS & DISEASES:
Now that the weather is warming up pests and disease will be getting busy in the garden also. As shoots emerge, slugs and snails are ready to chomp away at the new growth. Start using a biological control such as Nematodes. These are perfectly safe for other wildlife and pets. Other controls are surrounding the plants with a thick layer of coarse grit, ground egg shells or even hair. Slugs and snails hate moving over rough surfaces.
Keep an eye out for signs of any other pests and diseases and deal with them straight away to keep control over them.
Most lawns will by now have steady growth. Make sure your mower has been serviced and the blades are sharp. Set the mower on a high setting the first few cuts. Start mowing regularly. Lawns remain green and healthy if you mow regularly but take off just a little grass every time you mow.
It is a good time of the year to repair damaged lawns.
Dependent on what part of the country you live in, if the weather has warmed up and grass is in active growth, give the lawn a spring feed and weed.
Scarification is important and if this was not done last autumn then now is the time to do it. Take out the thatch and dead grass. If your lawn suffers from moss, then deal with the bigger issues. Moss growth can be due to compaction, poor drainage, cutting the grass too short or shade.
Turf can be laid for new lawns but make sure these are well watered. If they dry out and shrink, the edges will curl and you will never be able to revive these.
If seeding a new lawn, our advice is to do this in spring or autumn whilst there is rain.
It is time to prune bush and shrub roses. Climbing roses should have been pruned in autumn and rambling roses should never really be pruned. When pruning make sure your tools are sharp so your cuts are clean. Remove any dead or unhealthy stems. Stems should not be crossing and rubbing against each other so cut out any that are doing this. Prune the flowering wood to strong outward facing buds. Hard pruning will give you vigorous strong growth.
Cornus (dogwoods) are grown for the beautiful colour stems. It is the fresh stem growth that produces the colour stems so prune these hard to one or two buds on last year’s growth. The same pruning method applies to ornamental Rubus.
Any plants that are pruned should be given a good organic mulch and feed.
Finish pruning late summer flowering clematis.
At the first sign of new growth on perennials, start cutting down all the growth left over winter. Give the plants a good feed and mulch.
Pinch off the faded flower heads of Daffodils but leave the foliage as they will put the energy back into the existing bulb for flowering next spring.
The general train of thought is that bulbs of snowdrops and winter aconites do not grow well if they are bought as dry bulbs. It is better to plant these in the green. These can be divided and planted after flowering whilst they still have their foliage. These can also be bought in the green from specialist nurseries. Make sure the planting hole is prepared well with plenty of leaf mould. Once planted water them in well. It is illegal to lift snowdrops from the wild.
The dahlia canna and begonia tubers that were stored can be planted up. Do not water these heavily. Just spray them making the soil slightly moist. This will encourage them to start budding.
For succession flowering start planting summer flowering bulbs a couple of weeks apart. This can be done from March through to April. Plant bulbs 2 to 3 times their own depth.
This really is the last month to plant bare root deciduous trees, shrubs and roses.
Make sure any plants especially trees are well watered. As leaves begin to appear they will lose water from the foliage through evaporation.
Climbers can be planted in March. Make sure you have prepared all supports well before hand. It is very difficult to start adding these once you have planted.
Hardy perennials can also be planted especially if you are living in warmer parts of the country.
RUNWAY PLANTS FOR MARCH
Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Robin Hill’
Magnolia ‘Fairy Blush’
Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Red Lucky’
Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’
Chaenomeles x superba ‘Pink Lady’
Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’
Anemone coronaria ‘Bordeaux’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Corydalis flexuosa ‘China Blue’
Pulmonaria ‘Blue Ensign’
Narcissus ‘Dutch Master’
Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’