Cutting Edge, Preston

General Garden Care in March

As daylight hours increase and warmer weather comes in, you can say goodbye to winter and hello to spring. Your garden should come alive this month, changing its appearance. Be aware as frosts are still evident, delay the planting and sowing jobs if soil is to damp and cold. This will depend on where you live.

Trees and Shrubs

Remove all fallen leaves and twigs from around the borders and shrubs. Prune dead or diseased branches from trees and shrubs, along with any that are badly shaped Keep young tree supports secure but not to tight and cut back buddleia davidii (butterfly bush) to within six inches of the old wood. Neglected plants which have been left for years can be cut back to waist height and will regenerate to flower in the summer. Cut down Cornus alba `red` and Cornus stolonifers `yellow` to a few inches of the ground, as they will regenerate with brighter and more vibrant stems next year.

Flowers

It’s now time to lift, divide and replant any perennials which are over crowded. This is done by digging up the plants, using a fork and with sharp spade dividing the clump into four, this is very much dependant on the size of the plant. When replanting remember to use fresh organic matter. Also the planting of hardy annuals and summer flowering bulbs and the sowing of sweet peas. During March once snowdrops have finished flowering, they can be lifted, divided and moved, trying not to damage the bulbs whilst lifting. This is called ‘moving in the green’, remembering to plant to the same depth and water in. Hostas will start to appear at this time of the year remember slugs and snails love them and you should act accordingly to protect them. Try egg shells and fine gravel.

Lawns

Rake out dead grass, remove moss and re-edge lawns. As soon as possible start cutting the grass, if it hasn’t been cut since autumn. It will need to be cut twice as it will be very long and tufts. New lawns can now be sown.

Ponds

Now that the weather is warmer, the fish will start to come up and will need feeding more regularly. Remember to remove any sludge and dead leaves from the pond. As the pond comes to life and water plants start growing, check the submersible pump and clean out the filters. Thin out the oxygenating plants.