As the spring weather unfolds our gardens gradually come back to life. A sound action plan will allow you to maximise new growth as it occurs naturally in the garden. If you haven’t already, now is the time to feed lawns and plants, trim shrubs, divide perennials, re-pot container plants, clean out ponds and plant flower seedlings.
Feeding lawns now with either a special slow-release lawn mix high in nitrogen or an organic seaweed-based liquid fertiliser will ensure they grow strongly during summer, too. If drainage has been bad over winter, and especially if your lawn is on clay soil, improve it by aerating with a pitchfork and working coarse sand into the holes. Use the same method to add well-rotted compost to light, sandy soils that don’t hold nutrients well.
If you have a pond, give it some special attention so the water is crystal clear throughout summer. Scoop out dead leaves and decaying plant matter that has built up over winter. Litter can turn the water toxic if left in the pond during the warmer months. Divide waterlily clumps that have become too large and replant into baskets with fresh aquatic compost. To have a balanced ecosystem, ponds need a mix of oxygenating, floating and marginal plants. But take care not to over plant.
Re-pot container plants. Use fresh, good quality potting mix so the plants will thrive. The mix needs to be changed every year or two and spring is the ideal time to do it. Ready-made potting mixes contain materials, such as pumice, to aid drainage as well as soil that is not too heavy and easily waterlogged. They also include a good balance of nutrients, and often water-retaining crystals so the mix won’t dry out too quickly. Avoid using garden soil in pots as this is usually too heavy, doesn’t drain well and can harbour pests, diseases and weed seeds.
You’ll find more tips for getting your garden ready for the warmer months here.