March in the Garden

March in the Garden

By Garret Michael of Archers Ballina 

March is the first month that you can get out and tackle those jobs that you couldn’t face in the winter months. It’s a month to get a head start with your sowing, planting, pruning and feeding.

First off is maintenance and any damaged greenhouse panes, fence panels or any other fixtures that may need repairing. Patios, footpaths and driveways will have plenty of moss or algae, and may need to be tackled with a hard surface cleaner, one with a strong active ingredient, preferably didecyldimethylammoinium. Don’t worry, you won’t need to remember this name! All leading brands such as Goulding path & Patio cleaner or Patio Magic have it, and the results after application can be seen after only 5 days.

It will be soon time to give that untidy looking lawn its first cut, another mild winter having preserved the grass & possibly even forcing a bit of growth! A light trim is all that’s required now, scalping it too low will cause more problems in the long run. The biggest issue in this part of the country is moss, this is usually caused by one of 3 things. Bad drainage, shade from fences or trees & the third cause is cutting the grass too short. Once the grass is growing well the moss will lose out but in the interim there are a few methods to tackle this scourge. Sulphate of Iron will kill it, but the dead moss will need to be raked or scarified away. Neurdoffs clean lawn is an attractive alternative as this product will not require you to rake away dead moss, as it has a natural bacteria that dissolves the moss. Unfortunately this product will only eradicate approx. 30% of the moss, so if you have thick blanket moss it will need repeated applications. The third and most costly but effective method of dealing with the moss is by introducing vertical drainage holes in your lawn.

Last year was fantastic for roses, we have heard from people they bloomed through into January of this year! Pruning of roses starts in February, but you can still prune into March. Don’t be afraid to cut them well back, you can prune them back to 6inches above the ground. With a good hand pruners remove any dead, damaged or old growth less than the thickness of a pencil. After pruning remember to apply rose food around the base to re-nourish the plant.

Time now to get the first of those seeds germinating, a greenhouse, poly tunnel or indoor windowsill will give the right conditions – soil temperatures will not be just warm enough yet. For best results use a seed sowing compost with John Innes to guarantee quicker germination and better strike-rate.

For more info on any of the above or any other seasonal tips or queries, please contact Peter, horticulturalist in Archers of Ballina on (096) 35026.

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