Jobs this month are mostly about keeping things trim and tidy, and getting ready for the year ahead.
IN THE FLOWER GARDEN
• Lift and divide perennial plants now, to improve vigour and create new plants for your garden
• Divide hostas before they come in to leaf
• Pinch out the tips of fuchsia and sweet pea plants as they grow, to encourage bushy plants for summer.
•Divide primroses once they have flowered.
• Move evergreen trees and shrubs now.
• Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a balanced, slow release fertiliser by lightly forking it into the soil surface. Roses , in particular, are greedy plants and will greatly benefit from feeding as they come into growth.
• Tie in climbing and rambling roses.
• Prune penstemons now – cut back all the old shoots to the base, provided there is growth a the bottom of the plant. If there is no new shoots at the base, cut back just above the lowest set of leaves.
• Finish cutting back any dead foliage on perennials and ornamental grasses if you haven’t already done so. This will make way for new growth.
• Prune forsythia as soon as they have finished flowering, cut back into strong, young shoots.
• Tie in new honeysuckle and clematis stems. These plants will be putting on growth now, and you’ll need to train them along their supports.
• Continue to remove faded flowers from winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring.
• Apply a layer of mulch around your perennials, trees and shrubs before the hot weather arrives.
IN THE FRUIT GARDEN
• Protect fruit blossom from late frosts by covering them with fleece on cold nights.
• Mulch fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost, taking care not to mound mulch up around the trunk.
• Top dress patio fruit trees with fresh compost and a slow release fertiliser.
• Feed raspberry canes, fruit bushes and fruit trees to encourage good crops this season. Apply a slow-release fertiliser around the base.
IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
• Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds.
• Dig a 5cm layer of compost, well-rotted manure or green waste into beds.
• Harvest asparagus spears when they are no more than 18cm tall.
• Support pea plants now. Use twiggy sticks around your plants.
• Thin carrot seedlings to achieve good-sized carrots, do this in the evening when fewer carrot flies are around.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR LAWN
• Sow lawn seed now on well-prepared soil and keep the soil moist while it germinates.
• For an instant lawn, lay new turf this month and keep it moist until it’s established.
• Repair any bare patches in your lawn.
• Apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn, for a boost to the start of the season.
• Apply any specialist lawn weed killers to your lawn wherever moss and weeds are a problem.
• Brush away any worm casts on a dry day.
• Begin to mow your lawn regularly, as required. Lower your mower blades onwards the end of the month.
• Re-cut lawn edges to straighten them up.
• Install lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.
• Aerate compacted areas of lawn, by spiking it with a garden fork.