Bursting into growth – full-on spring!

This isn’t meant as an exhaustive list (There’s loads of information on seasonal tasks on the RHS Site and the Gardener’s World Site.) These pages are a quick reminder for you to refer to after a session if you need to.

We’ve talked about how climate change means it’s no longer quite so relevant to talk about tasks by month, or even season. However, if we understand how plant life cycles work, we can make quite good judgement calls on when to do things in the garden. It’s difficult to kill a plant by pruning it at the wrong time so don’t worry too much!

At this time of year I think the most important things are feeding – using a fertilizer and/or mulch, and generally keeping an eye on your plants. If you’ve planted or moved something, it can easily dry out as its root system isn’t developed yet. Established plants, especially climbers and herbaceous perennials, can romp away while you’re not looking and end up somewhere you really don’t want them. That old expression, “the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow” is never more true than in spring!

SHRUBS

  • Prune early flowering shrubs once they’ve finished flowering. If you’re not sure, check!
  • Prune hydrangeas – here’s a link to Monty Don explaining how to do it.
  • Start feeding summer flowering shrubs with a high potash feed (such as tomato or rose feed – it’s basically the same thing!)

ROSES

You should have pruned your roses by now, and hopefully they’re now covered with young, healthy leaves and even a few small buds.

  • Start feeding with a tomato or rose feed as buds begin to form.
  • Consider using an organic spray to keep aphids under control, eg SB Invigorator or neem oil.

TREES

  • If you have a Prunus variety of tree, such as a flowering cherry, you can prune it now, but be gentle!
  • If you have a newly planted tree, start watering it regularly


HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS

  • It’s your last chance to divide herbaceous perennials – if they’ve already got a lot of growth leave it until next year to be safe.


ANNUALS

  • Sow hardy annuals outdoors once the soil is starting to warm.
  • Sow half-hardy annuals under cover.


FRUIT

  • If you’ve got fruit trees or bushes, you can start feeding them with rose or tomato feed to encourage better fruit.
  • Consider using an organic spray, such as SB Invigorator or neem oil to control greenfly


GRASSES

  • You need to wait until grasses are showing signs of growth before you divide them, and when this happens depends on the type of grass.


CONTAINERS

  • Hooray! You know it’s spring when the garden centres are full of Pelargoniums and Petunias. Bedding plants aren’t much use for pollinators so think about including something else, like lavender, in with your containers.
  • Container plants are totally reliant on you for all their needs, so replace all or part of the compost each year. Never use garden soil in containers.
  • If you’re buying new containers, get the biggest you can afford. Bigger containers are easier to look after and are better for your plants – they keep moist longer and heat up and cool down more slowly (reducing thermal shock) than small pots.

VEGETABLES & HERBS

If you’re growing vegetables or tender herbs, such as parsley or basil, it’s time to get started. Be careful though – it’s easy to be tricked by a spell of warm weather into putting your tender vegetables or herbs outside, only for them to be destroyed by frost or a sudden gales.

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