Garden tasks for March
What to do this month:
This information is intended as a general guide only. Local conditions can vary and seasonal variations need to be taken into account. If in doubt, ask a horticulturist at your local nursery or garden centre. Go here for more information on climate zones.
- Watch out for snails and slugs that become active after wet weather. Use snail pellets or alternatively, trap them under timber planks, broken pieces of terracotta pots or damp newspaper.
- Avoid watering late in the afternoon as this will increase overnight slug activity.
- Rejuvenate lawns that have suffered during the hot summer months by top-dressing and reseeding if necessary. As the weather cools, lawn seed will germinate more easily. Using a fork, don’t forget to aerate the lawn too if the ground is compacted.
- Water lightly before broadcasting lawn seed then water daily until seeds have successfully germinated.
- Prepare beds for planting spring-flowering annuals using homemade compost to build up the soil.
- Collect the seeds from annuals that have finished flowering, leave the seeds to dry then store them in paper bags to sow later in the year or swap with friends.
- Compost the stems and foliage of spent annuals so that no part of the plant is wasted.
- Enjoy all those late-flowering shrubs such as tibouchina, hibiscus, plectranthus and repeat-flowering roses, which should continue to flower for a few more weeks.
- Visit your local nursery and select plants that give colour at this time of year so your garden has variety all year round.
- Prune back fuchsias and geraniums to promote further growth and to tidy up their general appearance.
- Don’t throw away the pruned cuttings, use them instead to propagate more plants. Use a rooting-hormone or simply plant in a pot using a good quality potting mix.
- Water thoroughly garden beds that may have become dry from the heat of summer.
- Dig in blood and bone to rejuvenate areas within the garden that have become depleted of nutrients after the ravages of summer. Then add a layer of organic matter to improve the soil fertility and texture.
- Plant certified strawberry runners into well-prepared soil and mulch with straw once they have become established.
- Soak sweet pea seeds in warm water for an hour before planting, as this will aid their germination. Add a little dolomite lime to the soil and ensuring there is support for the sweet peas such as a trellis or fence. Grow dwarf varieties in pots as well.
- Weed garden beds in preparation for planting vegetables and annuals. This will help to prevent weeds from becoming a problem later and also taking nutrients out of the soil.
- Chill cold-climate spring-flowering bulbs by putting them in the refrigerator crisper for several weeks to imitate a cold spell. Leave planting bulbs until the weather is much cooler.