Trees, Shrubs and Roses
Check all young trees and shrubs planted since last autumn to ensure they have not been wind-rocked, or the stems rubbed against the soil and stake or tie as necessary. Water young trees if the weather turns dry. Give a heavy watering at about 15 to 25 litres per plant when the leaves are expanding, and repeat if necessary. Trees and shrubs in pots might need watering in dry weather. Evergreens can still be planted as the sap is not rising yet. Bush roses and repeat-flowering climbers should be sprayed now against blackspot disease if they have some foliage.
Lifting and dividing herbaceous flowers should be completed by now but can be carried out if necessary still, as long as the plants are watered until they re-establish fully. Gladiolus corms can be planted directly outdoors from now on as the soil warms a bit.If hardy annual flowers, such as calendula and candytuft, were sown in autumn or in early spring, check them for weeds, thinning the flower seedlings a little if they are too many.It is really too late to sow bedding flowers because they will flower very late. Wait and buy plants in May.Hardy annual flowers such as calendula and California poppy can be sown now.
Grass growth begins to increase and at least one mowing should have been carried out to take off the withered tops of the grass if the ground was firm. Lawns need feeding in most cases, as soon as the weather warms up, to replenish soil nutrient levels leached out in winter. Feeding is especially necessary if grass grew poorly last year and there is a lot of moss competition. Mosskiller can still be used. Trim lawn edges if necessary and re-cut the edges of beds and borders while the soil moist and the sod is easily cut.
Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
In late March or early April, there is usually a dry spell of weather suitable for sowing vegetable seeds outdoors and be sure to take advantage of it.In the cooler,damper parts of the country, it can a good idea to start vegetable seeds in small pots or cell trays in a greenhouse or indoors.Seeds sown in cold conditions are often slow to sprout but will do so when the weather warms, although some can fail, notably parsnips, and need to be re-sown. Ensure that the ground is adequately fertile for vegetables because they are mostly heavy feeders ... apply 100 grams of general fertilizer per squate metre if neccesary, or less if the soil is good.Use plenty of rotted farmyard manure in a four-year roatation around the vegetable area. Onion sets and shallots can be put in now too. Potatoes should be planted as soon as possible. Prune apple and pear trees and blackcurrant bushes without delay because the buds are already opening.
Greenhouse and House Plants
Sow seeds of tomatoes for greenhouse growing without delay, also sweet peppers and chilli peppers, or buy some plants later. Feed greenhouse plants and house plants strongly to move them into rapid growth as the weather warms up and higher temperatures are reached in the greenhouse. Check for greenflies and other pests indoors. Tidy out all rubbish and begin to prick out flowers and vegetables sown earlier for eventual planting outside. Plant out greenhouse tomato plants now if they are ready.