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March garden tips 2018

Garden tips for March


 

Spring usually arrives by mid-March, and although it may be freezing now, we’re sure it will make an appearance!

It’s time to get busy preparing seedbeds, sowing seed, cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up around the garden.

Continue to deadhead winter-flowering pansies and other winter bedding. Pansies will carry on into the spring and even to early summer, if deadheaded frequently.

Flowerbeds can be prepared so that they are ready for sowing hardy annuals such as Geranium, Astrantia and Oriental poppies during late March through into April.

Sow hardy cornfield annuals such as cornflower, corn poppy and corn marigold in open ground or containers.

Overcrowded clumps of perennials can be lifted and divided, or new ones can be planted.

As alpines start to flower, remove the dead foliage, then mulch with grit to keep the foliage off damp soil.

Divide hostas before they come into leaf.

Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers fade.

Cut off the old leaves on hellebores, as Hellebore leaf spot could be a problem. Flowers produced from ground level will be exposed.

After flowering but whilst still in leaf it is a good idea to lift and divide snowdrop bulbs. The clumps should carefully be teased apart and then the bulbs replanted at same depth as they were before.

Pick off any developing seed heads on daffodils and other spring bulbs, but leave the foliage to die back naturally

Cut back ornamental grasses and other perennials left for winter interest. Even if they still look good, you need to make way for the new growth.

Cut back cornus and salix that are grown for their colourful winter stems.

Deadhead and prune hydrangeas before the sap starts to rise.

It is an ideal time for roses to be pruned, and also remember that any damaged, dead or diseased stems should be removed.

Prune outdoor fuchsias back to about four inches above ground level cutting to just above a pair of buds. This will encourage new shoots.

Tidy the borders by removing established and newly germinating weeds, then mulch generously with garden compost.

Towards the end of the month, you can plant evergreen shrubs and trees left unplanted since the autumn.

Protect new growth on lilies, delphiniums, hostas from slugs and snails.

Indoor forced bulbs that were in the house for winter displays, but which have now finished flowering, can now be planted into the garden, taking care not to disturb the roots.

If not already done, make sure garden tools and mowers are checked over ready for the coming season.

On established lawns if dry the first cut of the season can be made, ensuring the blades are approximately 0.5cm higher that the usual cutting height.

Replace lawn edges that may have worn away or crumbled by using a sharp half-moon edging.

Take down bubble insulation in the greenhouse once temperatures start to rise, to let in more light.

Open doors and vents on greenhouses to increase ventilation on warm, sunny days.

Put nesting material out for birds. You can help by tying up bunches of tiny twigs, dried moss, and other stringy vegetable matter near your feeders.