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Trees, Shrubs and Roses

  • If deciduous trees or shrubs are to be moved, this needs to be done in the next two weeks, or it must left until next winter. Bare-root planting of deciduous trees now is an increasing risk and will more than likely need a lot of watering in the early summer.
  • However, evergreens, both broad-leaved and coniferous, can be planted as the sap rises over the next two or three weeks. Water well at planting and watch closely for watering, especially in dry weather.
  • Bush roses and repeat-flowering climbers are in growth by now and should be pruned immediately, if not already done.
  • Although growth has begun, rose bushes can still be planted, but only from pots.
  • Apply a dressing of rose fertilizer to all bush and climbing roses. Manure and rich compost tend to make soft growth with an increase in blackspot disease.

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Flowers

  • Summer bulbs such as begonias and dahlias can still be started in a greenhouse or indoors.
  • Gladiolus corms can be planted directly outdoors where they are to flower from the middle of the month. So too can lilies, which can also be potted up for summer flowers.
  • Sowing of bedding flower seeds should be completed before the end of the month to allow the plants time to make good size.
  • Sow hardy annual flowers directly where they are to flower outdoors or in pots or cell trays to be grown on for later planting out.
  • Lifting and dividing of herbaceous flowers can continue but should be completed soon because the advanced growth of many kinds.

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Lawn

  • If the weather turns cold or wet, delay mowing until the weather improves to avoid damaging the lawn and then mow at the next opportunity.
  • Lawn fertilizer could be applied soon to boost a weak lawn, typically with slow growth and pale-coloured grass.
  • Fertilizer is not used on wildflower lawn areas.
  • There is still time to use lawn mosskiller if there is heavy moss growth on a lawn.
  • If new areas are to be sown, the ground should be cultivated if possible. If there are weeds present, these could be sprayed with Roundup first.
  • Sowing of new lawns, and tufing with lawn sods, can be carried out if the ground is in good condition and dry enough to be raked level.

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Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs

  • Early varieties of cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, peas and onions can be started in a tunnel or glasshouse, it is wet outdoors.
  • Outdoor sowings of many vegetables, especially of onions from seed, parsnips and sprouts, all of which like an early start, can be carried out from now on if the ground conditions are suitable.
  • Plant garlic and shallot sets without delay. The garlic needs a touch of cold while it is in the ground.
  • The rhubarb variety, ‘Timperley Early’ produces stalks of usable size as early as January.
  • Asparagus crowns from shops should be planted as fresh as possible in well-drained soil in a sunny position.
  • New fruit trees should be planted as soon as possible.
  • Pruning of apple and pear trees and blackcurrant bushes should be completed right away.
  • Old neglected apple trees can have any broken or diseased branches removed, or any branches that are growing back towards the centre of the tree.

 

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Greenhouse and House Plants

  • While it is a little too early to sow tomato seeds for outdoor growing, it is getting late for sowing tomato plants to grow in a greenhouse, also sweet peppers and chilli peppers.
  • If tomato plants were raised earlier, they can be planted out in the greenhouse border now, even just 10cm tall.
  • Cucumbers can be sown now, or earlier, or later, but mostly from now in greenhouses that have no artificial form of heat.
  • Pot up begonia tubers and canna roots for summer display in the greenhouse or conservatory.
  • Feed and water all greenhouse plants.
  • Check for pests, especially greenflies and scale insects.
  • Re-pot old house plants that have become tired and pot-bound.

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