Shrubs and Perennials:
- It's still okay to plant deciduous hedging plants, shrubs and trees.
- As a general rule, you can prune deciduous shrubs (shrubs that drop their leaves in the winter)between January and March i.e. before they flower in the summer. Some examples are Buddleja, Caryopteris, Hydrangea, Lavatera, fuchsia, and Ceanothus.
- Some shrubs such as Buddleja are usually cut back very hard (stooled) to keep them at a manageable size.
- March is a good month to plant roses especially if you live in colder areas but remember not to plant them where roses have been planted previously.
- Prune standard and bush roses as they start growing but before the leaves start to unfurl.
- Don't prune any spring-flowering shrubs until after they have flowered otherwise you will lose this years display.
- Renovated deciduous climbers will be easy now; live stems will have buds so prune out the dead stems with no buds.
- If you have any plants with leaves that are two colours (Variegated - often green and white) cut out any branches with leaves that are all one colour or the whole plant will eventually revert to only one colour and lose its interest.
- Cutting off the old leaves from hellebores at ground level will expose the flowers and reduce the chance of foliar diseases.
- Plant herbaceous perennials.
- Divide and/or plant snowdrop bulbs while they still have leaves on them; this is called planting in-the-green and some bulbs preferred to be moved when the foliage is just dying down.
- In mild areas you can sow Sweet peas outside.
- Cut back ornamental grasses and other perennials to make way for new growth.
- Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
- Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate. Good examples are those that have grown too big or that are flowering poorly.
- Divide hostas before the leaves appear but don't Divide hellebores until after they have flowered.
- Keep deadheading winter bedding plants such winter-flowering pansies to prolong your display.
TOP TIP: If the soil is wet stand on a plank of wood rather than treading on the soil otherwise you may compact the soil.
TOP TIP: Try to protect any new growth on lilies, delphiniums, hostas and similar plants from slugs and snails. Have you considered buying plants that are slug resistant?
- Don't cut newly laid turf until the grass reaches 2in (5cm) in height. Turf can be laid but be careful not to compact the spoil.
- Watch out for stones that have weathered to the surface of the lawn - they can damage your mower and regularly smash windows when flung from the mower.
- Provided the ground is not too wet mow your grass if it shows signs of growth. Don't shock your lawn by cutting it short straight away; the first cut should be higher than normal.
- This is a good time to define the lawn edges with a half-moon edger and create a 3in gutter between the lawn the flower border. This will stop the grass encroaching on the border and makes it easier to maintain the edges.
TOP TIP: If you didn't do it last autumn it's not too late to scarify the lawn; raking out dead moss and thatch. This will encourage new grass growth.
(With thanks to The Gardeners Guild)
Mixed planting schemes round the garden are a proven way of reducing pests over simply having block planting.
Roses may be getting attacked by greenfly and require a treatment with insecticide.
Regular weeding and hoeing over of borders will always be required at this time of year. While no chemicals are 100% safe glyphosate based weed killers have reduced long term risks over some residual types available. These weed killers can greatly reduce the need for physical weeding and have a longer term solution for couch grass, docks and dandelions.