March is all about the garden!
The days are beginning to get warmer and after a long winter, it just feels good to be outside working in the soil again. Here are10 top tips from MOLLY MAID, the professional domestic cleaners, for getting your garden beds in tip-top shape for the coming growing season.
- Protect new spring shoots from slugs.
- Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes.
- Plant summer-flowering bulbs.
- Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials.
- Top dress containers with fresh compost.
- Mow the lawn on dry days (if needed).
- Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for colourful winter stems.
- Weeds come back in to growth – deal with them before they get out of hand.
- Start feeding fish and using the pond fountain; remove pond heaters.
- Open the greenhouse or conservatory doors and vents on warm days.
Clean your perennial beds:
- Rake leaves and other debris from your beds in the Spring. Get out and rake leaves and debris from your garden beds. It is much easier to do this now before your Spring bulbs come up and flower or the new growth begins on your perennials.
- Remove last year’s dead foliage from your hosta, daylilies, iris, and peonies. Clear this from the garden – do not compost it as it probably harbors insects and disease. Many compost piles do not get hot enough to kill these pests and diseases.
- Cut back certain evergreen perennials like Liriope and Epimedium early this month before new growth begins. Once these begin to grow in the Spring, it’s difficult and time consuming to trim the old foliage.
- Cut back ornamental grasses and other perennials you left standing in the garden through the winter.
- Don’t forget to clean out your birdhouses early before the birds begin nesting again.
Early spring rejuvenation pruning:
Instead of tearing out and replacing overgrown hollies and boxwood, you can try cutting them back hard now while they are still dormant. Prune them heavily until just bare branches remain. You can even cut them back to one to two feet above the ground. This type of severe pruning is not always 100% successful but a very high percentage do regrow beautifully!
Early spring thinning of trees and shrubs
If they need thinning, it’s OK to thin out some branches of summer flowering trees now, but do not remove more than 20% of the branches. Remove crossing branches and all dead and damaged wood.
If needed, early this month while they are still dormant, you can also thin out some branches of forsythia, quince, and other spring flowering shrubs but not more than 10% – 20%. DO NOT shear them (give them a haircut) or you will loose the spring bloom. Any major pruning or shearing should be done right after they bloom.
Wait until April to cut back Buddleia (butterfly shrubs) and Caryopteris.