March Gardening.

March is the beginning of the busy gardening season. It can be a challenging month too, with unpredictable wind and frosts. Now is also the time to turn your thoughts to summer and your summer planting schemes as many seeds and bulbs should be planted now.
Over the past couple of months my inbox and social media pages have been full of the same question “what can I do to repair my lawn following last summers drought?”. Now that the soil is warming up its time to start tackling these issues (if you didn’t last autumn).
As the grass perished, weeds quickly took hold in the bare soil. If lawn weeds are not controlled they can quickly establish into large patches and choke out the grass, leaving the lawn looking untidy and neglected. There are two main methods of controlling weeds, by hand or with the use of chemicals. Selective lawn weed killers are available in two types, a liquid or all-in-one granular product. If you only have a few weeds then a granular all in one product will also control moss and fertilise the lawn. Where weeds are more prevalent for small areas a ready to use spray weed killer is suitable, or for larger areas a concentrated liquid which can be diluted is preferred. Selective lawn weed killers work better when the weeds are growing rapidly. If you choose to use a liquid weed killer make sure to use one that’s suitable for lawns and NOT a total weed killer which will kill the grass too. Once you’ve applied a weed killer its time to move onto the following steps:
• Cut lawn edges with a half-moon edging iron to ensure they look neat and well shaped.
• Scarify with a spring-tine rake to remove dead grass, thatch and other debris that will otherwise prevent healthy grass growth.
• Aerate the lawn with a garden fork or hollow-tined aerator to improve drainage and help reduce waterlogging problems and so make the grass grow better.
• After aerating, brush a dressing of top soil onto the lawn to further improve drainage and ensure healthy grass growth.
• Apply a spring lawn fertiliser (if you didn’t use an all-in-one product in step one)
The final step is overseeding. This should ideally follow the moss control, scarifying, aeration and feeding as part of the spring lawn care program. The scarification and aeration operations will leave a nice seed bed, which will encourage both germination and establishment. If you have used a weed or moss killer ensure that you follow the manufactures guidelines before overseeding.
All of the above will promote a healthy lawn, which will help prevent, not only weeds but many other common lawn care problems. However it is important to remember that if the lawn is not maintained properly, lawn weeds and moss are likely to keep returning.
Top Tips for March:
1. Plant out chitted early seed potatoes, shallots & onions.
2. Protect newly emerging shoots from slugs and snails
3. Keep on top of weeds, as they will complete with garden plants for water and nutrients.
4. Sprinkle a general purpose fertiliser in borders around shrubs and perennials.
5. Prune winter flowering shrubs such as mahonia, heathers, and winter jasmine as soon as flowering has ended.
6. As the flowers from daffodil and narcissus bulbs fade, carefully remove the flower head to prevent seed setting, leave the leaves to die down naturally.
Whatever March brings, I hope you are all able to enjoy some time outside in your garden.
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

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