After the long winter the first hint of spring in the air means that it’s time to start tidying and preparing the garden for the warmer months to come. You’ll still need to watch out for frost, but look ahead, and start planning your spring and summer borders.
Protect Against Frost
March and April can still be frosty, especially at night, so keep an eye
on the weather forecast, and protect tender plants if a frost
threatens. Cloches, horticultural fabric, or even cut-down plastic
bottles will give frost protection. You can also use cloches on areas of
bare soil to warm it up for sowing.
If you come across any self-sown annual or biennial seedlings in your
beds and borders, pot them up or transplant them to a more permanent
growing location if necessary. You can begin to harden off seedlings
raised in pots under cover, but do not plant them outside until the
threat of frost has completely passed.
March is the time to start feeding fish in your ponds. Take stock of
your plants: marginals may need trimming, and aquatics may need moving
or dividing. Pond pumps can now be taken out of storage, checked, and
replaced in the pond.
Neat Lawns and Borders
Spruce up your lawns and borders for spring. Start by mowing the lawn
after its winter break, then trim and tidy any ragged edges by hand.
Inspect the lawn, checking for perennial weeds, and reseed any bare
patches. In borders, keep an eye out for germinating weed seedlings, and
remove them with a hoe when you spot them. Once your beds and borders
are tidy, mulch them with a thick layer of organic matter to suppress
Guard Against Slugs and Snails
Young growth is particularly vulnerable to attack from slugs and snails,
so protect it using a barrier method, such as copper tape, egg shells,
or a line of coarse sand, or scatter slug pellets.
Protect Fruit Blossoms
Late frost can still happen in early spring, so be careful to protect
fruit blossoms and young fruitlets until there is no further threat. The
buds and flowers of peaches, nectarines, and cherries open early and
are prone to frost damage. Protect wall-trained and free-standing trees
Use your last chance to plant bare root trees in March, while they are
still in a near-dormant state. If you have missed out on bare root
stock, container-grown trees can be planted throughout spring and will
be available from garden centers. If you plant young fruit trees and
bushes, pinch off any flowers this year to encourage a good root system.