As the weather becomes brighter and the temperature gets warmer, these are the signs that Spring will show you to tell you to get out in your garden and into the seasonal sunshine. No ice, no snow, no worries. March is the month where your garden really starts to take centre stage, meaning there’s plenty to do.
While you should keep planting your trees and shrubs, feeding your existing plants should also be a priority. This includes hedges and roses too. Lightly fork slow-release fertiliser into the soil to get the best results.
As for the plants that have grown too much, look at cutting back your shrubs right back to their bases for their colourful winter stems. Especially Cornus and Salix cultivars. You should also make sure that you keep on top of pruning your plants. Take your overwintered fuchsias back to around one or two buds on each shoot and prune your roses so they can grow back stronger.
You’ll need to do something similar with mopheads, by taking off one third of last season’s growth. However, with H. paniculata, you’ll only need to take them back to their lowest pair of healthy buds. Don’t forget hydrangeas, you’ll need to deadhead them completely before you see any new growth.
One great part of Spring gardening is that it gives you the opportunity to prepare your fruits for the Summer and Autumn months. Raspberries will particularly benefit from this preparation. Cutting the autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground will allow new canes to be stimulated, ready to fruit in late-summer/autumn. Summer-fruiting raspberry canes will only need to have their tips cut to above a bud.
Like your trees and shrubs, your fruit plants need to be fed and maintained properly. For instance, blueberry plants should be fed with ericaceous plant fertiliser, and, although its less likely in spring, the blossoms of apricots, peaches and nectarines should be protected from frost with a screen or horticultural fleece. Also, mulch your fruit trees and bushes (as well as rhubarb) with either well-rotted manure or garden compost, to keep them healthy and reduce moisture loss.
While on the topic of feeding plants, you should ensure that your vegetables have all the resources they need to grow this season. To do so, you should dig either compost, well-rotted manure, or green waste into your vegetable beds. Check for any weeds too. Ideally, you don’t want any setting their seeds so eradicate them at any given chance.
March is a very popular time to sow your vegetable seeds, as there are so many different kinds that the process can be applied to. Store bags of compost in your greenhouse at least a week before you start sowing to warm up, covering them with either cardboard or sheets of black plastic. As you don’t want your plants contracting any diseases, thoroughly wash your watering can, to prevent any chance of it happening.
Towards the end of the month, you should be looking at planting seeds for potatoes, onion sets and shallots, once the soil has warmed up.
As you switch between seasons, one of your main focuses in March should be your winter flowers and pruning them is a great way to start. Once they’ve finished flowering, prune early flowering Clematis but make sure to do so lightly. Although 2024 seems like a while away, the preparations for next year’s Jasminum nudiflorum starts this month, by pruning and cutting their growth back to 5cm from the old wood.
Cut back any dead foliage from perennials and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth, while deadheading plants such as winter pansies and daffodils to stop them from seeding and let them die naturally.
Insects such as slugs pose a lot of danger to your plants, so make sure to keep an eye out for any that may be lurking in and around your plant beds or large containers, the latter of which you will have to top-dress and water when necessary.
To prepare for the warmer seasons, move your plants from the greenhouse to a cold frame, to help them adjust.
Get your garden ready for March, take a look at our range of plants and trees.
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