Winter is on the way out this month as the first signs of spring start to appear, with bulbs such as snowdrops starting to emerge. There's plenty to be doing this month in the garden, from planting to final winter pruning and cleaning out the bird boxes for #BirdFeedingMonth. Check out our hints and tips put together by our chairman and Horticulturist, John Richardson below.
Make sure the roses are pruned by the end of the month, hard pruning promotes growth, and will benefit any weaker growing plants or varieties. Ensure that you cut back to white healthy wood.
Sow seed of bedding dahlias at a temp. of 64 deg.F and prick off seedlings into boxes or pots. Take cuttings from tubers started into growth in February when rooted (3-4 weeks) pot them individually into 8-9 cm pots.
By the end of the month ensure that pruning of all woody trees and shrubs has been completed, remembering that plants that flower early, such as forsythia and weigela, should not be pruned until after flowering. Prune Buddleia and Perovskia late in the month to prevent frost damage.
For trees and shrubs being purchased late in the planting season, it may well be more successful to purchase root balled or container-grown plants to prevent drying out in a dry and windy month, alternatively, establish a watering system that can water the root systems morning and evening.
Complete the planting of new hedges, remembering that plants will require watering whenever conditions are getting dry. Hedge plants are often sold ‘bare root’ which can dry out quickly.
If you did not take heather cuttings last year, you can produce extra plants by layering in late March when the weather is suitable. In a shallow trench beneath the plant, refill the hollow with a compost and grit mixture and peg down the shoot with a suitable stone or peg. Leave shoot tips visible. It may be up to a year before transplanting is possible, but plants should be strong and well-rooted by then.
Late March is the best time to move snowdrops in spite of the foliage remaining green as well as the odd flower. They should soon recover when watered.
When indoor flower bulbs are finished, do not remove the leaves as photosynthesis continues to provide nutrition until leaves turn yellow. This helps build up the bulb for the following year.
Give increased ventilation and more frequent watering to alpine plants in sunny conditions. Leave glasshouse doors open on mild days.
Read a manual on the annual pruning and care of fruit trees as their requirements relating to tree age and species vary considerably.
For most fruits, the danger of damage to young shoots occurs in early April to mid-May. We have had a few cold spells this winter and spring, and growth may be advanced compared with most years. In the event of severe frost warnings, cover strawberries and other early fruiting plants overnight with hessian or thick polythene, but ensure it is removed during the day. Wall trained fruit trees may require to be protected from early March as buds break early under the protection of the wall.
Mow the lawn for the first time this season with the blades set higher than normal to prevent hitting worm casts. Choose a day for the first cut when the grass is dry and the weather is mild. If worm casts are very numerous it may be necessary to spray the lawn with worm killer such as Chlordane. Brushing the lawn horizontally with a besom brush will make a good job and prevent the need for chemicals.
Posted 3rd Mar 3:11pm