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March gardening tips

A garden in autumn colours

March’s gardening essentials

  1. Tip 1 Late March and early April is a good time to transplant shrubs and trees. As soon as the soil is workable, but before buds have swelled or opened up.
  2. Tip 2 Finish pruning fruit trees this month - before the buds swell.
  3. Tip 3 Roses can be pruned .Severe pruning results in nicer long stemmed flowers and more compact bushes.
  4. Tip 4 Seeds that were started indoors last month may be transplanted from the flats into peat pots and given dilute fertilizer. If you have a greenhouse, it is time to take cuttings of 'wintered over' plants such as Coleus, Chrysanthemums, Geraniums, and other perennials.
  5. Tip 5 Divide and transplant summer blooming perennials and fertilize established ones as soon as new growth appears.
  6. Tip 6 Plant tender bulbs and tubers such as lilies and dahlias. You may continue planting additional bulbs every two weeks until mid June to ensure a continuous source of bloom.
  7. Tip 7 Prune winter Jasmine after flowering; cut honeysuckle back to 3ft.
  8. Tip 8 Remove all dead blooms from bulbs.
  9. Tip 9 Plant Primroses and Pansies
  10. Tip 10 Water all bulbs during times of growth and especially during foliage and bloom development. Irrigate summer-flowering bulbs during dry weather. Keep water off foliage and blooms.
  11. Tip 11 Take a little time to prepare the vegetable garden soil for planting.
  12. Tip 12 Peas and sweet peas may be planted as well as perennial vegetables like Asparagus, Rhubarb, Horseradish and artichokes.
  13. Tip 13 Eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, early potatoes, and radish seeds may be planted in the garden about mid month.
  14. Tip 14 Time to start tomatoes, lettuce, and many other vegetables from seed.
  15. Tip 15 Houseplants will react to longer days and brighter light at this time by putting out new growth. The end of this month is a good time to pinch them back to generate new growth and to thicken them
  16. Tip 16 Turn your houseplants a quarter turn each week to make sure all sides of the plant receive adequate light, and to keep the shape of the plant balanced.
  17. Tip 17 Mist or spray your houseplants to clean away the winter’s dust, prevent Spider Mites and add a little humidity.
  18. Tip 18 Remain on the lookout for insects and pests
  19. Tip 19 Most weeds can simply be pulled or cultivated out of the garden while they are young.
  20. Tip 20 Repair damaged areas of the lawn. De-thatch, rake or aerate.
  21. Tip 21 Test your soil for pH to see if any amendments are necessary
  22. Tip 22 March is a good time to note areas of poor drainage. If you have pools of water in your garden that do not drain, fill in the low spot or scoop out a channel for the water to drain away.
  23. Tip 23 Clean out all of your birdhouses now, so that they are ready when the birds return.
  24. Tip 24 Repair any fencing or trellis work that is weak or has broken over the winter.
  25. Tip 25 Check the plants under tall evergreens to see that they have sufficient moisture.

Week-by-week gardening tips for March

Week 1

  • Sow hardy annuals in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.
  • Sow tender bedding plants in a heated propagator or in trays on a warm windowsill.
  • Lift and divide congested clumps of perennials.
  • Plant out bulbs grown for indoor use which have finished flowering.
  • Mulch beds and borders while the soil is moist to reduce the need for watering and to keep down weeds.
  • Prune roses removing decaying old and thin, spindly wood.

Week 2

  • Take chrysanthemum cuttings.
  • Remove shoots that have no live buds from summer-flowering clematis and cut back late-flowering clematis hard.
  • Prune tender climbers and wall shrubs if they show strong growth.
  • Remove winter protection from containers and top dress or replant overgrown or pot-bound plants, adding a slow-release fertiliser.
  • Sow dahlia seeds to germinate in gentle heat and prick out seedlings when large enough to handle.

Week 3

  • Prune plum trees once they have started growing.
  • Make sure pots and seed trays in the greenhouse do not dry out.
  • Cut off dead flower spokes from summer-flowering heathers and prune young tree heathers.
  • Make the first outdoor sowings of culinary and salad herbs.
  • Apply a spring fertiliser the establish lawns once they are actively grown and cut grass when it is about 8cm (3in) high.
  • Deadhead daffodils as they fade.

Week 4

  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs over three years old as they finish flowering.
  • Sow sweet peas direct into their flowering position.
  • Sprout main crop potatoes and plant sprouted tubers of early varieties.
  • Sow and plant our vegetables including beetroot, broad beans, carrots, celeriac, kohlrabi, onions, peas, spinach, Swedes and turnips.
  • Sow seeds of tomatoes in a heated propagator or on a warm windowsill to grow on outdoors when all danger of frost is over.