When spring is on the horizon, most gardeners’ minds turn towards tidying up their garden. The GardenAdvice team have created a few pointers to help you save time and improve the look of your garden.
It is tempting to dive into your compost heap at this time of year for mulches and planting. But just spare a thought for the wildlife in your garden that might have been overwintering in your compost heap such as hedgehogs and grass snakes that often lay the first clutch of eggs in a warm compost heap. So, before you dig into your compost heap, be sure to check first.
After cold or wet winter lawns benefit from a good raking with a wire rake or light scarification by machine. Over the winter the grass gets pushed down and matted, and fungal disease can start to take hold. Raking or scarification helps air to circulate around the grass plants and has an effect called “tillering” that allows the grass plants to produce additional shoots per grass plant making for a thicker lawn in the summer. Early spring is a good time to feed a lawn but hold out on using fertilisers that are high in nitrates. Try to choose a more organic lower nitrate food.
Most gardeners in early spring focus on flower borders. It’s a good idea, before your perennial plants start to shoot, to weed and top up with a mulch such as spent mushroom compost or bark. One great tip for giving your borders a smart look is to re-cut the border edges that are against lawns to provide them with a sharp, stylish look.
Early spring is an excellent time to clean your glasshouse before you start to use it for seedlings and other plants. Wash the glass, frame and staging with disinfectant and then use a sulphur candle to help kill all the overwintering pest eggs and disease spores.
Early spring is a good time to tidy up your garden pond. Cut back the dead growth from pond plants like bull reeds and yellow iris and take the time to thin out pondweed. Care must be taken not to disturb your pond’s wildlife – frogs will lay their eggs in early spring.
Another crucial task at this time of year is to clean the filters and remove any pondweed that surrounds submersible pumps for water features and ponds.
Normally, late spring is the best time to start sowing seeds in your vegetable garden. But you can get your vegetable garden ready at this time of year by weeding and covering areas with black plastic to collect the sun’s heat and start to warm up the soil before you start sowing seeds.
At this time of year, most of the work in your fruit garden should be already completed, but your fruit trees and bushes will benefit from a spring feeding and the sowing of companion plants like marigold seeds. They’ll help to support beneficial insects such as lacewings.
Now the harsher weather has passed, you can inspect your roses for any broken or diseased stems that need to be cut back. You can also feed and apply mulch to your roses.
Conifers and other evergreen plants
Pruning and trimming your conifers and evergreen plants in the winter is never a good idea because the frosty freezing weather can damage the cut end but now that the weather is starting to warm up it’s the ideal time to carry out this task.