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March Maintenance: Welcome in Spring

21 March 2013 by Rolawn

This winter has presented a particularly harsh time for our gardens. A combination of the freezing temperatures, snow fall and heavy rain will no doubt have left your garden looking a little worse for wear. Spring has been a little reticent to show itself this year, but make the most of any early sunshine and brighter days, grab your gloves and brave the weather to make a start on spring maintenance jobs. When temperatures return to normal, there will no doubt be a sudden burst of growth, so try to get on top of things now.

Tidy Up

Remove any existing weeds from beds and borders and keep an eye out for more over the coming weeks. Spring presents ideal conditions for the growth of weeds, so by starting early, you have a much higher chance of getting the upper hand in this never-ending battle. Cut back perennials which have been left over winter. Remember that you're making way for new growth, so even if they still look attractive, don't be afraid to cut stems back to ensure your garden remains fresh. You may also wish to divide herbaceous perennials in order to provide them with more room, as well as fresh compost for a more fertile environment for them to prosper in.

Prepare Plant Beds

If you haven't already begun preparing your beds, you may wish to begin this process sooner rather than later. Both beds and planters will require fresh, nutrient-rich compost for an optimum growing environment, whilst old compost from planters can be cast over beds to improve the quality of the existing soil. Once you've removed any dead leaves and weeds and forked over the soil, you can apply a couple inches of mulch to assist your garden throughout the spring and summer and save yourself having to carry out extra work. Mulching helps to condition the soil whilst also suppressing weed growth and providing essential insulation during particularly harsh conditions. It also reduces evaporation, saving on watering. Mulch will offer your garden some much-needed protection whatever the weather throws at us.

Lawns

March is usually the time to give your lawn some much needed tender loving care, should the weather allow it. After some harsh climatic conditions, take care if the lawn is frosty or waterlogged and if necessary leave it to recover for a little longer before starting your spring maintenance. If on the other hand you're beginning to notice signs of fresh growth, then it's time to give your lawn its first cut, but avoid mowing if a frost is forecast or the ground is too wet. Raise the blades of your lawnmower to ensure the cut remains light and removes no more than a third of the grass leaf. Lawn edges can also be tidied and recut as required with the use of a half-moon lawn edging iron. Worm casts can cause havoc on lawns during winter. A stiff brush should be all that's needed to disperse them during dry periods. Avoid redistribution of worm casts during wet conditions as this will often make the situation much worse. On dry days you can gently brush the worm casts aside to avoid leaving muddy smears on the lawn. Once temperatures begin to rise and the grass starts to grow apply a spring feed. Fresh turf can be laid if it's required for new lawns or to repair damaged areas, although much like mowing an existing lawn, it's best to avoid doing this during especially frosty periods or if the soil is still too wet and unworkable. From here on in you will notice your attention being drawn to your garden much more than in previous months, so by getting prepared in March, you beat the rush of weeds and heavy maintenance that can be required in mid to late spring.