Maintenance tips for April

  • By tony jepson
  • 20 May, 2017

Still chilly but you should start your maintenance

Maintenance

- Mow lawns. The aim is to maintain a constant height – not necessarily short! Do what is best for the lawn.

- Continue to weed borders etc. Less weeds now means less weeds later.

- Tie climbing and rambling roses as near to horizontal as possible to restrict sap flow thus causing more sideshoots to grow along the stem resulting in more flowers.

- Mulching rose and shrub beds with a layer of organic matter will help retain moisture and reduce weed build-up – even improving soil structure over time.

- Delay pruning any spring-flowering shrubs such as Forsythia until after they have finished flowering or this year's display will be lost.

- Prune evergreen shrubs such as Choisya ternata and evergreen Ceanothus.

- Remove frost damaged shoots from evergreens damaged by wintry weather.

- Remove green shoots on hardy variegated evergreens that are reverting to a single colour.

- Deadhead spring bedding plants such as pansies and primulas.

- Remove tired or dead winter bedding and plants that did not survive the winter.

- Put supports in place now for perennials so that they can grow over them.

- Prune Penstemons, Teucrium, lavender (if necessary) and other slightly tender plants making the cuts just above fresh, new shoots.

- Deadhead daffodil and tulip flowers as necessary, nipping off the heads and seed pod as they fade but don’t cut them down yet.

Planting

- You can still plant deciduous hedging plants, shrubs, trees and climbers.

- Sweet peas can be sown outside this month

- Plant summer-flowering bulbs.

Propagation

- Take cuttings of conifers for propagation of your favourites. These could take over a year to take root properly.

- Divide any herbaceous perennials you want to propagate.

Treatments

- Apply a high nitrogen spring lawn fertiliser to encourage good, strong growth to replace old growth from last year.

- April is the best month to apply lawn weedkillers as the weeds are inactive growth.

- If you have a problem with moss you can choose a combined fertiliser and mosskiller when feeding the lawn but beware that moss killer can stain clothes and hard surfaces.

Landscaping

- Cut the lawn edges and create a 3in gutting between the lawn and flower borders.

- You can sow new lawns or over-seed dead patches from mid-April to early May.

- Remove algae from paths using a brush with stiff bristles or a pressure washer.

- If the weather is dry paint wooden fences, sheds etc with a wood preservative. Ensure that you use only new chemicals as some older brands are now illegal.

Pond care

- Pond algae grows when there is excessive sun light. Create extra shade by dividing and replanting waterlilies when they are showing signs of growth.

- Start feeding the fish.

- Clean out your pond filter. Check the filter a week after cleaning it as the water will be very dirty from the winter and it may need cleaning again.

Courtesy of The Gardeners Guild.

By tony jepson 20 May, 2017

Maintenance

- Mow lawns regularly to keep them healthy - removing a 'little and often' is the key.

- Maintain a 3in gutter around the lawn edge. This will prevent grass from creeping into the border.

- Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds.

- Keep tubs and hanging baskets well watered.

- Protect crops from birds by putting up nets.

- Liquid feed containerised plants every two to four weeks.

- Tie in climbing and rambling roses as near to horizontal as possible to restrict sap flow and cause more side-shoots to grow along the length of stem resulting in more flowers.

- Prune flowering shrubs such as Deutzia, Kolkwitizia, Weigela and Philadelphus after they have finished flowering. If you leave this too late the flowers may not have enough time to develop for next year.

- Continue to clip evergreen hedges such as privet and box.

- This is the best time of year to prune deciduous magnolias once the plant is in full leaf.

- If necessary, thin out new shoots on trees and shrubs pruned in the winter to prevent overcrowding.

- Prune overcrowded, dead or diseased stems from Clematis montana once it has finished flowering.

- Prune wall-trained pyracanthas, removing any shoots coming out from the wall, and shortening other new growth to about 8cm.

- Remove any reverting shoots on hardy variegated evergreens, to prevent them reverting to just one colour.

- Deadhead flowering perennials such as Lupinus and Delphinium to promote a second flush of flowers later in the season.

- Lift clumps of forget me nots as these can get out of control.

- Stake tall perennials to prevent wind damage to flower spikes.

- Cut back dead bulb foliage if not done already. It is important to wait until the foliage dies down naturally.

- Cut back clumps of spring-flowering perennials such as Helleborus, Pulmonaria to encourage fresh foliage. This will also encourage the plants to stay more compact and will flower better next year.

- Trimming back spreading and trailing plants such as the annual Lobularia (sweet alyssum) after flowering will encourage fresh growth and new flowers.

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- Cut back Oriental poppies after flowering to stimulate growth of fresh new foliage.

- Help Sweet peas find their supports to encourage them to climb and give a good display.

- Pinching out the leading shoots on Chrysanthemum and Helianthus will encourage bushy plants. Alternatively, leave them if you want tall plants.

- Opening green house doors and vents on hot days will help to lower temperatures. Damp down the floor to increase humidity.

Planting

- Plant out summer bedding and seed-raised plants, if not already done so.

- Thin out direct sowings of hardy annuals.

- Any gaps in your herbaceous borders should be filled with summer bedding plants for now.

Propagation

- Take softwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs including Caryopteris, Forsythia, lavender, Fuchsia, Hydrangea macrophylla, Philadelphus and Spiraea and rosemary if not done last month.

- Now is the time to lift and divide overcrowded clumps of bulbs after they have finished flowering so that you can increase your stock for next year.

- Divide primroses after flowering and keep them planted in a nursery bed until the autumn.

- Divide hostas as they come into growth.

- Hellebore seed can be harvested once the seed heads have ripened - sow them straight away for growth next year.

Treatments

- Apply a high nitrogen summer lawn fertiliser if not done last month to - encourage a healthy-looking lawn.

- Selective weedkillers are available for lawns that will kill the weeds but not the grass. Moss killers are also available.

- Apply weedkiller to paved areas also to help stop the spread of weeds.

Landscaping

- Greenhouses may need shade paint to stop temperatures getting too high.

- Removing dirt and algae from paving and patios will stop them becoming slippery when wet.

- Check and repair wooden structures.

- Paint wooden structures with a wood preserve.

Pond care

- Thin out, cut back or divide excessive new growth on aquatic plants and tidy up the bog garden.

- Water lilies are big feeders – if not already done so feed with a slow-release fertiliser tablet (place in the soil around the base of the plant.

- Keep ponds and water features topped up and clean out pond filters.

- Remove blanket weed from the pond and then leave the weed on the side of the pond for a day to allow trapped creatures to return to the water before adding to the compost heap.

Courtesy of The Gardeners Guild

By tony jepson 20 May, 2017

Maintenance

Mow regularly.

Maintain a 3in gutter around the lawn edge. This will prevent grass from creeping into the border.

Prune out any frost damage on evergreen shrubs.

If not already done so (and depending on local climate) Cut back tender shrubs such as Penstemon and Fuchsia after the danger of frost has past.

Trim evergreen hedges to keep them neat. Evergreens such as Viburnum tinus can also still be trimmed this month. (check for nesting birds first).

Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as Berberis, Choisya and Ribes after they have finished flowering.

Prune overcrowded or dead stems of Clematis montana once it has finished flowering – don’t worry it will take even hard pruning very well.

Late spring is a good time to coppice or pollard (cut back hard) Eucalyptus.

Tie in climbing and rambling roses as near to horizontal as possible to restrict sap flow and result in more flowers.

Remove any reverted green shoots on variegated (leaves with two colours) evergreens, to prevent them reverting to a single colour.

Put supports in place now for tall herbaceous plants or those with heavy blooms before they are too tall.

Plant out cannas and dahlias when danger of frost is past.

May is a good time to divide herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate or that are getting too big. Dividing will also help the plant to produce new growth. Bamboos can be divided in the same way.

Divide hostas as they come into growth.

Cut back clumps of spring-flowering perennials such as Pulmonaria and Doronicum to encourage fresh foliage. This will keep the plants size in check and flower better next year.

Divide primroses after flowering and plant them in a nursery bed until they are ready for planting out again in the autumn.

Remove faded wallflowers and spring bedding from beds and pots to make space for summer planting.

Check pot plants for signs of being root bound.

Deadhead tulips and daffodils but allow the foliage of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs to die down naturally rather than tying in knots.

Hoe regularly between rows on hot days to make sure the weeds dry up and die.

Mulching around the base of your plants will help them to retain moisture around the roots.

Keep pots and hanging baskets well watered using collected rainwater wherever possible.

Planting

Plant out summer bedding at the end of the month.

Propagation

Take softwood cuttings of deciduous shrubs such as Forsythia, Fuchsia and Hydrangea.

Take softwood cuttings of tender perennials to propagate your favourites.

Treatments

Apply a high nitrogen summer lawn fertiliser to encourage a healthy-looking lawn. If moss is a problem, choose a combined fertiliser and mosskiller when feeding the lawn.   A selective lawn weedkiller will kill the weeds but not the grass.

Apply a liquid fertiliser to spring bulbs after they have flowered will help prevent daffodil blindness and encourage a good display next year.

Landscaping

Sowing new lawns or over-seeding dead patches can still be carried out in early May while the ground is moist.

Apply shade paint to the outside of the glass or similar measures to prevent temperatures soaring in your greenhouse on sunny days.

Use a pressure washer to remove algae from paths. An algae killer may help. Organic options are available.

- Remove dirt and algae from walls, paving and patios.

Repair pergolas, arbours and arches as necessary.

If the weather is dry you can treat fences, sheds etc with wood preservative and stain.

Collect rainwater for irrigation.

Pond care

Divide and plant waterlilies if not done last month.

Thin out, cut back or divide excessive new growth on aquatic plants.

Clean out pond filters

Plant any new aquatic plants you fancy this month.

Fish will need feeding - a little and often is best.

Continue to remove blanket weed.


Courtesy of The Gardeners Guild

By tony jepson 20 May, 2017

Maintenance

- Mow lawns. The aim is to maintain a constant height – not necessarily short! Do what is best for the lawn.

- Continue to weed borders etc. Less weeds now means less weeds later.

- Tie climbing and rambling roses as near to horizontal as possible to restrict sap flow thus causing more sideshoots to grow along the stem resulting in more flowers.

- Mulching rose and shrub beds with a layer of organic matter will help retain moisture and reduce weed build-up – even improving soil structure over time.

- Delay pruning any spring-flowering shrubs such as Forsythia until after they have finished flowering or this year's display will be lost.

- Prune evergreen shrubs such as Choisya ternata and evergreen Ceanothus.

- Remove frost damaged shoots from evergreens damaged by wintry weather.

- Remove green shoots on hardy variegated evergreens that are reverting to a single colour.

- Deadhead spring bedding plants such as pansies and primulas.

- Remove tired or dead winter bedding and plants that did not survive the winter.

- Put supports in place now for perennials so that they can grow over them.

- Prune Penstemons, Teucrium, lavender (if necessary) and other slightly tender plants making the cuts just above fresh, new shoots.

- Deadhead daffodil and tulip flowers as necessary, nipping off the heads and seed pod as they fade but don’t cut them down yet.

Planting

- You can still plant deciduous hedging plants, shrubs, trees and climbers.

- Sweet peas can be sown outside this month

- Plant summer-flowering bulbs.

Propagation

- Take cuttings of conifers for propagation of your favourites. These could take over a year to take root properly.

- Divide any herbaceous perennials you want to propagate.

Treatments

- Apply a high nitrogen spring lawn fertiliser to encourage good, strong growth to replace old growth from last year.

- April is the best month to apply lawn weedkillers as the weeds are inactive growth.

- If you have a problem with moss you can choose a combined fertiliser and mosskiller when feeding the lawn but beware that moss killer can stain clothes and hard surfaces.

Landscaping

- Cut the lawn edges and create a 3in gutting between the lawn and flower borders.

- You can sow new lawns or over-seed dead patches from mid-April to early May.

- Remove algae from paths using a brush with stiff bristles or a pressure washer.

- If the weather is dry paint wooden fences, sheds etc with a wood preservative. Ensure that you use only new chemicals as some older brands are now illegal.

Pond care

- Pond algae grows when there is excessive sun light. Create extra shade by dividing and replanting waterlilies when they are showing signs of growth.

- Start feeding the fish.

- Clean out your pond filter. Check the filter a week after cleaning it as the water will be very dirty from the winter and it may need cleaning again.

Courtesy of The Gardeners Guild.

By tony jepson 20 Feb, 2017

March

Unpredictable but warmer afternoons and increased light levels help plants start to grow.  

Try to protect any new growth on lilies, delphiniums, hostas and similar plants from slugs and snails.

Tree pollen will be most common in March from Hazel, Yew, Elm, Alder, Willow and Poplar trees.  

Watch out for stones that have weathered to the surface of the lawn - they can damage your mower and regularly smash windows when flung from the mower.
Does your garden have a water logging problem? Talk to us about water logging solutions.

Maintenance

Cutting grass early in the season can help reduce the spread of seasonal weeds. The first cut will be higher than normal to avoid ‘shocking’ the lawn. Don’t cut newly laid turf until the grass reaches 2in (5cm) in height. Grass cutting will encourage new, healthy growth.

- This is a good time to define the lawn edges with a half-moon edger and create a 3in gutter between the lawn the flower border. This will stop the grass encroaching on the border and makes it easier to maintain the edges.

- Prune standard and bush roses as they start growing but before the leaves start to unfurl.

- Avoid pruning any spring-flowering shrubs until after they have flowered otherwise you will lose this years display.

- As a general rule, you can prune summer flowering deciduous shrubs between February and March i.e. before they flower in the summer. Some examples are Buddleja, Caryopteris, Hydrangea, Lavatera, fuchsia, and Ceanothus.

- Some shrubs such as Buddleja are usually cut back very hard (stooled) now to keep them at a manageable size.

- Prune out any reverting variegation (shrubs that have leaves that are two colours but where some branches are reverting to a single colour).

- Cutting off the old leaves from hellebores at ground level will expose the flowers and reduce the chance of foliar diseases.

- Cut back ornamental grasses and other perennials to make way for new growth.

- Keep deadheading winter bedding plants such winter-flowering pansies to prolong your display.

- Remember to water azaleas with rainwater and not with tap water.

- Passion flower and jasmine can be thinned out to keep them tidy. Cut last years growth back to two or three buds from the main frame.

- If your passion flower is overgrown or frost-damaged plants, carry out renovation pruning in spring by cutting back the stems to 30-60cm (1-2ft) from soil level. Cut to a bud or side shoot wherever possible. The plant will respond by sending out lots of new green shoots. These will need thinning out and formative training. Flowering will be reduced for a year or two.

- Deadhead amaryllis leaving the flower stalks to die down. If you keep feeding and watering them you may get further flowers in late summer as well as next winter.

- Hoe borders and apply weedkiller to keep weeds under control now. Weeds are self propagating. Less weeds now means less weeds later.

- Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for colourful winter stems

Planting

- I t’s still okay to plant deciduous hedging plants, shrubs and trees.

- March is a good month to plant roses especially if you live in colder areas but remember not to plant them where roses have been planted previously.

- Plant herbaceous perennials.

- In mild areas you can sow Sweet peas outside.

- Plant summer-flowering bulbs.

Propagation

- Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate. Good examples are those that have grown too big or that are flowering poorly.

- Divide and/or plant snowdrop bulbs while they still have leaves on them – this is called planting in-the-green and some bulbs preferred to be moved when the foliage is just dying down.

- Divide hostas before the leaves appear but don’t Divide hellebores until after they have flowered.

- Prune back stems on pot-grown over-wintered fuchsias. Soft tip cuttings (these are the soft and bending stems) can also be taken from fuchsias this month.

Treatments

- If you didn’t do it last autumn it’s not too late to scarify the lawn – raking out dead moss and thatch. This will encourage new grass growth.

- Wet weather can wash nutrients from the soil. A lawn feed might be necessary. Pots and borders may also need feeding.

- Adding mulch to surface of borders and pots will feed the soil and help to suppress weed growth.

Landscaping

- Turf can be laid but be careful not to compact the spoil. New turf may be hard to find if the weather has been wet.

- Erect trellis, pergolas etc before plants start to grow and use them for support.

- If the weather is dry paint fences and other wooden structures with a preservative. Some products are no longer legal so buy new if your shave been stored for some time.

- Was wet weather a problem for your garden? Talk to us about ways to manage water logging.

Pond care

- Check that the pumps are working, clean out the filters and start to feed the fish.

- You can also divide your marginal plants if you want to spread them around or if they are getting too big.

- Keep an eye on the water level of your pond to make sure the frost hasn’t caused any leeks.


By tony jepson 20 Feb, 2017

 

Cold with some sunny/dry days – Spring is on the way!

Mole activity will increase in January and February due to mating and building of nests.
Attracting wildlife to your garden can help to control pests in the summer. Proper pruning helps create healthy plants that attracts beneficial wildlife.

Pollen from Alder, Hazel, Yew, Willow and Elm trees as well as spores from fungus and mould.

Snow mould (Fusarium patch) can be a problem in wet weather especially on overfed lawns that have been left to grow too long.

Maintenance

 Summer-flowering deciduous shrubs can be pruned between February and March to keep them tidy such as Buddleja davidii, hardy fuchsias, Perovskia and deciduous Ceanothus. Some of these can be cut back very hard (stooled).

- Delay pruning spring-flowering shrubs until immediately after flowering or you might lose this years display.

- Prune out shoots on hardy evergreens that should be two colours but are growing with only one colour – otherwise the whole plant could revert to one colour.

- Prune hybrid tea roses and floribundas now.

- Prune ground cover roses.

- Prune patio and miniature roses.

- Prune shrub roses.

- Cut back Ornamental vines, ivy, Virginia creeper and Boston ivy now.

- Honey suckle that will flower on new growth this year can be pruned back hard/renovated now.

- Prune Wisteria by cutting back the sideshoots by two or three buds. Avoid cutting off flower buds.

- Prune Campsis stems by cutting back lateral branches to within two or three buds of the main branch.

- Late summer and autumn flowering Clematis can be cut back to the lowest pair of strong buds.

- Wi nter-flowering heathers can be trimmed as the flowers fade, keeping them bushy and colourful.

- L ast chance for pruning apples and pears. Next month the sap will start moving.

- It's also time to cut autumn fruiting raspberries and blackcurrants down to the ground to stimulate the new canes.

- Cut back ornamental grasses and any other perennials that were left for some winter interest.

- Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that have either become too large, that you want to propagate, are flowering poorly or have lost their shape.

- Deadhead winter pansies and other winter bedding to prolong the display.

- Prune passion flower and winter jasmine to two or three buds from the main framework.

- Check whether pots and other containers need watering - even at this time of year, they can dry out.

- Its okay to move established hedges, shrubs, trees and climbers and plant new specimens.

- Continue to plant roses but remember not to plant them where roses have previously been planted to avoid replant disease.

- Plant Lily bulbs in pots for flowers in the summer.

Propagation

- This is your last chance to take hardwood cuttings of ornamental shrubs such as Salix, Forsythia, Ribes, Elaeagnus, Rosa, Weigela, Cornus, Chaenomeles and Escallonia.

- Check that stored Dahlia and Canna tubers are not too dry or wet.

Treatments

- Top up pots and tubs with fresh compost.

- Put a top dressing around plants after pruning, planting etc such as bark or gravel around alpines. This helps to improve the soil, suppress weeds, insulate roots and retain moisture during the summer.

- Apply a general fertiliser to all plants. Apply the fertiliser where the roots are - roughly a similar area to the spread of the branches.

Landscaping

- Lay turf and repair the lawn if it is not too wet or frosty but avoid compacting the soil.

- Cutting the lawn edges can really improve the look of your garden and save you work later on.


By tony jepson 20 Nov, 2016

- Continue to cut back faded herbaceous perennials.

- Rambling roses can be renovated with a hard prune now.

- Pruning and renovation of many deciduous trees, shrubs (including woody roses) as well as hedges can be carried out from now and throughout the winter.

- Prune apple and pear trees. Prunus species (including ornamental cherries, plums and almonds – fruit with a stone) are normally pruned mid spring.

- Cut back ornamental vines, ivy, Virginia creeper and Boston ivy.

- Clear weeds as required.

- Dig over soil on vegetable/flower beds if not already done - this will improve the soil.

- Tidy-up fallen leaves from borders if you have not already done so and add them to the compost heap. Leaf-mould can be used as a soil improver. Good garden hygiene helps prevent diseases.

- Grass will continue to grow if the temperature is above 5°C so it may be necessary to give the lawn a trim. Raise the cutting height.

- Tidy tubs and containers by removing weeds, debris and add a layer of decorative gravel/grit mulch. This will stop mud splashing up in wet weather.

- Raise pots onto ‘pot feet’ or bricks so that they don’t spend the winter sitting in wet puddles.

- Some large tubs may crack in the frost so you may want to cover them with bubblewrap or similar to insulate them over the winter.

- Check tree ties and stakes to ensure that they are still effective. Wall shrubs and climbers should be tied onto their supports to protect them from damage by the wind.

- Acers and Betula should be pruned before the end of the year to avoid sap bleeding from the cuts.

- Have you insulated your greenhouse with bubble wrap?

- Clear leaves and twigs from greenhouse and shed gutters.

- Rake fallen leaves from your lawn before they kill the grass.

- Regularly check the tubers of plants such as Dahlia and Canna you have stored for signs of drying out, dampness or rot. Remove dead bulbs before it spreads.

Planting

- You can continue to plant bare-root deciduous hedging plants and trees, move established deciduous trees and shrubs

- Its okay to plant roses but don't plant them where roses have been planted previously as this can lead to replant disease.

- Plant lily bulbs ideally in January.

- It is too late now to have plants with colour during the winter as they would need time to establish. So, visit public gardens, garden centres etc and take note of the most colourful - dogwoods ( Cornus ), Salix and white-stemmed Rubus shrubs and consider what would be suitable for a possible winter display in your garden next year.

Propagation

- In mild areas you can still lift and divide herbaceous perennials when the weather is dry. This will increase your stocks and revive any poorly flowering clumps.

- Bring tender plants into the greenhouse or your conservatory if not done so already. Even in mild areas the weather usually gets much harder after December.

- Root cuttings can be taken from now on and Alpines can be sown from seed this month (They need a period of cold weather to break the seed dormancy).

- You can take hardwood cuttings from ornamental shrubs such as Berberis , Buddleja and Forsythia .

- Propagate ornamental shrubs such as Cornus, Salix, Forsythia, Weigela, Escallonia, Rosa, Ribes, Chaenomeles and Elaeagnus by taking hardwood cuttings. You can also take cuttings of deciduous climbers such as Fallopia and Lonicera.

Treatments

- Spray a winter wash on roses and the surrounding soil to keep black spot under control.

- Place bark chip mulch around the base of your Christmas rose to stop mud splashing on the blooms.

- Watch for signs of lawn waterlogging as you may be able to remedy this with some, scarifying and a top dressing – ask us for advice.

Landscaping

- The winter is a good time to think about landscaping and new installations – while the garden is dormant and can cope with being dug up and moved. Consider garden lighting, water pipes, drainage and add lights and power points to sheds and out-buildings – of course, you will need an electrician.

- Are any pipes susceptible to damage from freezing? - drain them now and put lagging around outdoor taps so that you can use them throughout the winter.

- If the weather is dry you can still treat wooden structures with preservative.

- Ask us about new paving, fence building, pond digging, gravel, mulch borders, compost bins, arches, pergolas etc.

- Why not lay stepping stones to avoid walking on and damaging your lawn when the weather is wet.

- Stop paths becoming slippery by removing algae - you may need to buy a herbicide or use a pressure washer (obviously not if the water is likely to freeze)

- You can repair hollows and bumps in the lawn during mild spells by cutting an 'H' shape in the turf, peeling back the grass, and either filling with top soil or scraping away the soil if you have a bump.

Pond care

- Net your pond to stop herons stealing your fish.

- Regularly remove fallen leaves from ponds.

- Check water levels regularly to make sure that you have no leaks.

- Pond specialists may be selling-off last years stock cheaper - now might be a good time to look for pond pumps etc.


By tony jepson 20 Nov, 2016

- Cut grass as necessary. Cutting height will be raised to avoid lawns becoming muddy when wet. Grass will continue to grow in temperatures above 5°C (41°F).

- Rake fallen leaves off lawns.
Fallen leaves block light and increase ground moisture increasing the chance of moss and algae.

- Established meadows can be cut but don't cut them as short as you would your lawn.
Recently planted meadows will not need mowing until the middle of spring.

- Tie wall shrubs and climbers to their supports to protect them from wind damage and prune off any growth that refuses to be trained.

- Check tree stakes and ties to see if they need loosening or tightening.

- Prune deciduous trees/shrubs/hedges from now and throughout the dormant season. Exceptions are tender plants i.e Prunus species (fruit with a stone). Evergreens are best left until the spring.

- Shrubs such as Buddleja davidii, Cornus alba and Lavatera that are normally pruned hard in the spring - can be cut back by half now to prevent wind rock and keep them tidy.

- If not already done so, Climbing roses should be pruned now at the very latest.

- Lightly prune bush roses as reducing their height will prevent wind damage as they often have shallow roots.

- Keep cutting down faded herbaceous perennials and add the cuttings to the compost heap.

- Dead head Penstemons. Cut back hard in the spring.

- Ornamental grasses and bamboos can be cut back and tidied up but some have attractive flower heads that will provide some winter interest. These can be pruned in the spring.

- Dig soil over to expose pest larvae to birds and frosts and improve soil structure. Add mulch or compost. Digging clay soils after autumn rain will be difficult.

- Hoe weeds regularly to keep them in check..

- Clean out old plants from greenhouses and then clean and disinfect the greenhouse with Jeyes Fluid or Citrox to kill off any pests.

Planting

- November is an ideal time to plant roses but don't plant them where roses have been planted previously or they may suffer from replant disease.

- Bare-root deciduous hedging plants, trees and shrubs become available this month. They need to be planted quickly so they don't dry out. You can still order and plant containerised trees and shrubs.

- This is also a good time to transplant trees and shrubs growing in unsuitable positions if they are less than 2 years old – otherwise you might not dig up enough roots for it to establish again.

- November is a good time to plant new herbaceous perennials while the soil is still warm but the soil is still moist.

- Plant tulip bulbs this month. Some tulips persist year to year but if you had a poor display this year you will need to treat them as bedding plants and plant more bulbs now.

- Last chance to plant out winter bedding plants such as wallflowers, Bellis, forget-me-nots, Primula, winter pansies (viola).

Propagation

- Take hardwood cuttings of ornamental shrubs such as Forsythia, Cornus, Hydrangea, Euonymus, Ilex and Salix.

- November is still a good time to lift and divide overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials to improve shape, health and flowers and will increase your stocks for you to keep or give to a friend.

- Lift and store dahlias, cannas and begonia tubers planted in flower beds after the first frost Only in mild areas can dahlias/cannas be left to overwinter in the ground if well covered by soil/mulch/straw.

- Begonias should always be brought in, dried out, and stored in a similar way as dahlias.

Treatments

- As the soil isn't waterlogged, in mild parts of the country you can still carry out autumn lawn care i.e. scarification, aeration and top dressing.

- Don’t feed the lawn with left-over summer feeds. Use an autumn lawn feed, which contains more potassium and phosphorous and strengthens the roots.

- It is too late to apply lawn weed killers. They work best when the weeds are in active growth.

- Toadstools often appear on lawns at this time of year - Most are harmless saprophytic fungi but are best removed if small children are present.

Landscaping

- It is too late to sow grass seed, but if the weather is not too cold, new lawns can still be laid from turf.

- Watch your lawn for signs of water logging. You may be able to remedy this. Ask us for advice.

- Now is a good time to make plans for garden projects while the garden is in its bare bones such as pond digging, digging new flower beds, fence building and paving.

- Be aware that decking and stone slabs can become slippery in wet weather. Pressure wash paths.

- Suggestion: build a compost heap to collect autumn leaves.

- If your lawn suffers die-back from treading during the wet winter, you may wish to lay stepping-stones to allow easy access without causing damage.

- Protect exterior water pipes from frost damage.

- Remove submersed pumps etc and clean them so that they can be stored safely for the winter.

Pond care

- You can still divide hardy water-lilies and pond plants to increase your stocks and keep them under control. - A maximum of 50% of the water’s surface should be taken up with planting.

- Remove dead foliage from floating plants.

- Regularly shake off leaves from nets over ponds to prevent them from building up and rake out fallen leaves from ponds that do not have a net.

- Remove submersed pumps etc and clean them so that they can be stored safely for the winter.


By tony jepson 20 Nov, 2016
Top jobs for this month
By tony jepson 27 Aug, 2016
Garden Maintenance in September

Top jobs for September

1. Divide herbaceous perennials
2. Collect and sow seed from perennials and hardy annuals
4. Clean out greenhouses so that they are ready for use in the autumn
5. Start to reduce watering of houseplants as light levels drop.
6. Order spring flowering bulbs.
7. Take semi ripe cuttings of evergreen shrubs if you want to propagate them.

Lawn Care

- The weather is still suitable for creating and repairing new lawns with turf or seed. But you are running out of time to use lawn weedkillers to control perennial weeds such as daises and buttercups.
- You may need to strengthen your lawn for winter by applying an autumn lawn feed which is high in potassium to strengthen the roots. Avoid using old summer feeds as these are high in Nitrogen which at the wrong time of year could encourage lawn diseases.

Trees, shrubs and climbers

- Shrubs that flowered early in the year (Camellia and Rhododendron) should continue to be well watered to ensure a good flower display next spring. Remember to use recycled water wherever possible.
- Prune climbing roses once they have finished flowering, cutting sideshoots back a couple of buds from the main frame.
- Late-summer flowering shrubs such as Helianthemum (rock rose) can be pruned this month. As a very general rule prune flowering shrubs either before or after they have flowered.
- Take hardwood cuttings of roses.
- Keep trimming hedges as required to keep them tidy.
- If there are strong winds, beware of falling trees. Trees that still have their leaves are easily blown over in strong winds - especially as wet soils make trees less stable.

Flowers

- What some people call a weed others call a wildflower – if you like it then why not look for the seed heads to ripen then pluck off the heads and shake them over a chosen area where you would like to have wild flowers next year. Poppies for example take easily from casual sowing like this. Same applies to your more traditional perennials.
- Buy or order spring-flowering bulbs. Daffodils are traditionally planted September/early October for best results. Tulips are best left until November. There are many other bulbs to choose from so visit a garden centre to see whats available.
- Its okay to plant new perennials as the ground is still warm but moist and they will have time to establish before winter. You can also buy spring-flowering bedding plants such as Bellis, Primula, wallflowers, and violas.
- Continue cutting back any perennials that are fading and dying down. Deadheading plants such as Dahlia, Delphinium and Penstemon will prolong the display and give colour well into the month.
- Your hanging baskets will also benefit from a little deadheading and feeding to keep them going until mid-autumn.
- Divide any overgrown clumps of alpines and herbaceous perennials (such as crocosmias) to invigorate them and improve flowering next year.
- You can still apply weedkillers to kill most perennial weeds.

Greenhouse and Houseplants

- If you use your greenhouse then remember to clean it before you fill it with plants you want to protect from frost over the winter. Hose it down and then use a safe cleaning product such as Citrox to kill off any pests.

Ponds

- Submerged oxygenating plants may need thinning out as they can quickly build up and fill the pond.
- Remove dead leaves from waterlilies as the leaves die back. Now is also a good time to divide waterlilies (and other pond plants) to increase your stocks and control vigorous growth. Ideally planting should cover no more than 50% of the water’s surface.

Soft Landscaping

- If you use your greenhouse then remember to clean it before you fill it with plants you want to protect from frost over the winter. Hose it down and then use a safe cleaning product such as Citrox to kill off any pests.
- If the weather ever dries up take advantage of it by painting fences, sheds and other wooden structures with a preservative. Remember that old oil-based products are no longer legal to use – our members have a list of banned chemicals if you are unsure.
- Replacing broken glass in your greenhouse is a good idea before the serious rain sets in. Fix leaky shed roofs for the same reason.

By tony jepson 27 Aug, 2016
Garden Maintenance in August

Top jobs for August

1. Prune Wisteria.
2. Mow regularly but raise the cutting height during dry spells.
3. Dead-head flowering plants regularly.
4. Trim hedges to limit the work needed later in the year.
5. Collect seeds from favourite plants.
6. Start to think about any repairs sheds/greenhouses need before the rains come.
7. Lightly prune shrubs after flowering to keep them neat.
8. Keep ponds and water features topped up.
9. Don’t let plants dry out! New plants especially need a lot of water. Use recycled rain water whenever possible.
10. Remember garden hygiene – clear fallen leaves and keep the garden tidy.

Lawn Care

- Although many people like a short lawn – the important thing is an even cut. Raising the cutting height during dry spells will help the lawn retain moisture and cope better in the heat.
- Mulching mowers cut the grass up extra fine leaving the cuttings on the lawn to act as a natural fertiliser and also helping to retain moisture.
- The lawn may go brown – this is very common at this time of year. Don’t worry too much it will recover when the rains come. However, this can be prevented for next year by ensuring that the lawn is well scarified and aerated later in the year.
- The lawn feed you use should be suitable for the season – having an appropriate balance of Nitrogen, Phosphates and Potassium. This is probably your last chance to use a high Nitrogen feed (for lush, green lawn). Autumn/winter feeds will focus on feeding the roots so they are strong during the winter.

Trees, shrubs and climbers

- Evergreen shrubs such as Hebes and lavenders can be given a light prune after flowering.
- Prune Wisteria after it has finished flowering. Prune shrubs such as Pyracantha also after flowering.
- Rambling roses can be pruned back after flowering.
- Many hedges will also benefit from a light trim to keep them tidy to avoid a lot of work in the autumn when growing starts to slow.
- Continue to deadhead shrubs, such as roses, to extend flowering into early autumn. Spindly specimens that have lost leaves can be cut back a little further when deadheading, to encourage new growth.
- Shrubs that flower early in the year such as Camellia and Rhododendron should be kept well watered even after they have finished flowering – how you treat them now will affect their blooms next time.
- It’s not too late to increase your stocks of box, Ceanothus, lavender etc by taking cuttings – Do your friends have any of these that you could take a cutting from?
- Black spot on roses is very common at this time of year but it’s too late to spray them – simply clear up any fallen leaves to try and limit its spread.

Flowers

- Don't forget to look after your hanging baskets - deadheading faded flowers, watering and feeding will prolong the display. Containers will also need a weekly feed.
- In fact, Deadheading bedding plants and other plants such as Dahlia, rose and Penstemon will prolong the display well into early autumn.
- BUT don't cut the flowerheads off ornamental grasses as these will give you something to look at in the winter!
- Remove fading stems and leaves from Geraniums to encourage new growth. This should not be a hard prune – a little can have a large effect.
- Irises have finished flowering so now is a good time to increase your stocks by dividing the rhizomes and planting them elsewhere in your garden.
- Most perennials can be divided now once they have finished flowering but keep them well watered until they have established.
- Annuals and perennials only flower for one or two seasons and then die off. They propagate by dropping seeds. If you like them why not collect the seeds now and spread them yourself in the autumn. Good examples are Cerinthe, Calendula, Nigella, Papaver, Geranium and Aquilegia.
- Most perennial weeds are best dealt with when they are actively growing because the weed killer relies on the liquid being taken into the plant (the weed thinking it is being given a drink). This will ensure that the roots are killed along with the leaves.
- Towards the end of August sow seeds of hardy annuals directly into borders (visit your garden centre to see what’s available). The seeds will survive the winter and flower next summer. Of course, you will need a well prepared seed bed set aside for this purpose so you know what should be growing and what should not!

Greenhouse and houseplants

- If you have been keeping Cyclamen in the greenhouse these can now be encouraged to ‘wake up’ by watering and adding a layer of additional compost.
- If you are lucky enough to see some sun this summer then remember to open doors and windows on your greenhouse to stop temperatures getting too high and dampen the floor with a hose pipe to keep humidity levels up.
- Remember garden hygiene – pests and plant diseases are most common in high temperatures so regularly clear up fallen leaves and generally keep your garden tidy.

Ponds

- Remove faded leaves on aquatic and marginal plants cutting back where necessary.
- Keep an eye on water levels – if going on holiday ask someone to keep an eye on your pond. A water fountain will help aerate the water.
- Remove blanket weed and duckweed where this is a problem.

Soft Landscaping

- Pressure wash paths and patios to remove moss and algae that could become slippery in the winter.
- Think about any repairs that are need for sheds and greenhouses now before the rains start.
- If you get any dry weather paint fences, sheds etc with a preservative. Check the product is still legal as many of the old oil-based products are no longer approved – your gardener will have a list of banned chemicals.
- Can you recycle more of your garden cuttings? Log and twig piles provide valuable shelter for wildlife. - Be creative use them to create a features by planting up with ferns, primroses etc.

Wildlife

- You may see willow or garden warblers, house-martins, swifts and swallows. A birdbath can be a vital source of drinking water for birds. Ensure that yours is kept topped up.
- Many bugs are beneficial and should be encouraged. Without them many flowers would fail to pollinate, set seed or produce fruit.
- It is the breeding season of Damselflies and dragonflies. Hoverflies and ladybirds are also in abundance this month. Hoverflies do not sting although they look a little like wasps - this is just their defensive camouflage to deter predators. Planting marigolds around vegetables will attract hoverflies as pest control.
- However, this is peak bat-watching season as they are active and garden friendly, eating midges and tiny insects that annoy us!
- Frogs, toads and newts, are now leaving the pond, usually at times when the ground is damp so be careful with your lawn mower!
- Unfortunately, this is flying ant season, when they fly up in the air to mate.

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