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Jobs to do in the garden in March

It won’t be long before spring arrives and that’s the time when things start to get really busy in the garden. The days will hopefully get sunnier and longer, so it’s time to get out there and prepare seed beds, sow seeds, cut back winter shrubs and generally tidy up around the garden. However, it’s worth remembering that frosts can still be a hazard, so it’s important to keep vulnerable plants protected at night if frost is forecast. March winds can also be notorious for their ferocity so check exposed plants are well supported. So what tasks should you be doing this month? Well, here are Ladybrook Nursery’s top tips for the March garden.

  • If the soil is unfrozen and workable, then dig in a good layer of compost or well-rotted manure into your beds to prepare for the growing season ahead. You might also consider working in a general purpose fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or fish, blood and bone.
  • Move deciduous trees or shrubs now, provided the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.
  • Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a slow-release fertiliser.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs like gladiolus, lilies and ranunculus into containers, beds and borders.
  • Plant out any forced hyacinth and daffodil bulbs which have finished flowering indoors in the garden
  • Spring is the ideal time to plant herbaceous perennials. You can also lift and divide established perennial plants to improve their vigour and create new plants for your garden.
  • If any of your garden plants will need supporting this year, add the supports now. It will be far easier to do than if you leave it til the plants are well grown.
  • Plant bare rooted roses.
  • Feed roses with a special rose feed or a balanced fertiliser as they come into growth.
  • Prune roses to encourage strong new growth.
  • Sow flower seeds so they are ready for planting out in June.
  • Sow hardy annuals directly into the soil. If the weather is inclement, sow the seeds in pots or module trays for planting out later in the spring.
  • Begonia tubers that have been started into growth will start to produce new leaves. As leaves appear, pot them up individually.
  • Hardwood cuttings taken last year may need planting or potting on now.
  • Prune early-flowering clematis once their flowers have finished and summer-flowering clematis before they start into active growth.
  • Finish cutting back shrubs grown for their colourful winter stems such as cornus and salix cultivars. Cut them back to their bases.
  • Cut out the top rosette of leaves from mahonia shrubs after they have flowered to encourage branching.
  • Cut back any dead foliage left on perennials and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth.
  • Prune winter-flowering jasmine (jasminum nudiflorum) after flowering to encourage new
  •  growth for next year’s blooms. Cut back the previous years’ growth to 5cm from the old wood.
  • Trim winter-flowering heathers after flowering to stop the plants becoming leggy.
  • Cut off the old leaves of hellebores to remove any foliar diseases and make the spring flowers more visible.
  • Deadhead faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will also encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring.
  • Deadhead daffodils as the flowers finish and let the foliage die back naturally.
  • Dead-head Hydrangeas before new growth appears. Cut to about one third of last season’s growth.
  • Watch out for slugs as the weather warms up; they favour soft new growth. Use nematodes for an effective organic control.

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