March Gardening Guide

  • Fork over remaining beds to remove perennial weeds ready for new planting. Choose new perennials from a good range, now available. Divide and replant existing beds if congested, and apply general fertiliser and mulch with organic material to suppress weeds.

  • Finish pruning roses, buddleia and spring flowering shrubs as flowers fade. Plants with winter interest, coloured stems, dog wood and willow can be hard pruned almost to ground level. Shear over-spent flowers on winter, heathers being careful not to cut into old wood.

  • Transplant evergreens towards the end of the month, weather permitting.

  • Complete planting bare-root hedging, shrubs and trees. Container fruit trees and ornamentals are also best planted now to ensure good establishment. Continue to monitor newly planted material¬†and water during the first season.

  • Plant shallot sets now into a firm seed bed followed slightly later by onions. Plant out Jerusalem artichokes and asparagus crowns into deeply prepared soil, enriched with plenty of organic matter. On very light well drained soils, early potatoes can be planted and other vegetables can be sown including broad beans, beetroot, peas, carrots, parsnips, turnips lettuce etc.

  • Feed fruit trees with a high potash-based fertilizer, and have a final check of ties and supports. Spray, if not already done so in previous months, peaches, nectarines and apricots with a copper fungicide a preventative measure against peach leaf curl (This needs to be applied before the flower buds burst open).

  • Cover blossom with fleece if frost is forecast. Feed other shrubs, hedges and existing vegetables with a general fertiliser. Prepare the locations for celery trenches and runner beans, digging in plenty of well rotted manure and organic material.

  • Sow sweet peas under glass or in cold frames for planting out later. Hardy cottage annuals can be treated in this way or broadcast sown direct into the soil from mid April.

  • In a heated greenhouse or conservatory, celery can be sown for planting out later along with other vegetable plants including peppers, cucumbers and aubergines. Use an electric propagator to aid germination. For outdoor tomatoes, sow them in late March and plant out in June, earlier for those retained in the greenhouse.

  • Summer bedding can be brought up from seed, pricking out small seedlings into trays for growing on. Plant out at the end of May or early June. Increasingly, the standard varieties can be purchased in a plug or cutting form and simply grown on in pots or section trays. This includes impatiens, petunias, lobelia, pelegoniams and fuschias, all of which are on sale this month.

  • Treat areas of lawns affected by moss and then rake out; prepare to reseed bare patches in a few weeks. Start to mow lawns when signs of new growth appear, set blades high and remove cuttings and, on later cuts, reduce to approximately 40 mm long. Prepare ground now for turfing or reseeding new lawns in April.

Use any spare time to catch up on outstanding tasks from previous months and continue to support wildlife.