Jobs to do in the garden this May
1) Plants should be staked before they become too big and start to flop. Methods to use include pea sticks, bending the tops across at the top to form a canopy, upright canes around each clump with twine tied around the canes, wire netting supported by canes in a cylinder around tall plants, or tall plants tied to individual canes of the ultimate plant size.
2) Still time to plant container roses to replace those that have deteriorated over winter, or to fill that hole in the border, Water new plants thoroughly. Spray against greenfly in early morning or evening, but not when wet. Check for specific advice on sprays against black spot and other diseases.
3) Apply a balanced fertilizer around shrubs and water shrubs which have been spring planted and will still have limited root systems. May is a good time to plant evergreens if there is significant rain or water will need to be applied. Keep new growths of wall plants tied which help when pruning in late June. Prune clematis montana types quite hard after flowering to ensure a good show next year.
4) Keep weeds down by hoeing or chemical weed control, use Roundup against perennial weeds. A 10cm layer of mulch (mushroom compost or well-rotted garden compost ) will
supress weeds and help conserve moisture.
5) Complete the planting of root-balled or pot grown evergreen hedges, water the hedge line the day before planting and again when planting is completed. When conifer hedges have reached
the required height, cut back the leader shoot to 6” below this height to encourage branching lower in the stem and a neat compact top to the hedge.
6) Pick off dead flower heads of Rhododendrons and Azaleas to allow new growth to develop and mulch with leaf-mould.
7) Clip Lonicera nitida hedges monthly to maintain a good shape. Clip Privet regularly. Clip Forsythia and flowering Currant hedges after flowering. Weed and hoe under hedges.
8) Feed top fruit and soft fruit and use nets to protect bushes from birds as flowers develop.
9) Cut back Ivy and Ceanothus which has finished flowering.
10) 1f you have not used weed-killer to treat the lawn this spring, use the grass mowings to mulch trees and hedge plants.
11) Some plants like Forget-me-nots can spread very rapidly, to contain them pull up the plants as soon as they finish flowering to prevent them seeding every-where.
12) Watch out for the vivid red Lily beetles which will be apparent from mid-month, hold a hand underneath them when trying to catch them as the try and drop to the ground. They lay their
eggs under the leaves and the grub covers itself with its own faeces. SQUASH them!
13) Trim lawn edges frequently when dry to develop a firm edge which will not sink when walked upon.
14) Set the mower blades to their final height for the summer, and apply a top-dressing of a nitrogen fertilizer in late May. Water when conditions require it, don’t under-water, but make
sure that water is getting to the roots of trees and bigger shrubs.
Posted 1st May 10:28am