July

Summer is progressing, we’ve had some hot weather and July traditionally see’s more of this. Keep maintaining your gardens to enjoy them for longer.

Jobs for this month:

  • Feed the lawn with a summer feed
  • Continue regular mowing
  • Deadhead bedding plants
  • Be water wise

Lawn Summer Feed

At this time of year, the lawn is actively growing and requires feeding.

Method

Use a proprietary spring  or summer lawn fertiliser at the manufacturer’s recommended rates. Feeding the lawn will increase vigour and help prevent weeds and moss from establishing. Apply fertilisers when the soil is moist, or when rain is expected.

June

Summer has arrived! This month’s extra light and warmth will encourage gardens to grow at speed.

Jobs for this month:

  • Maintain regular weed control
  • Mow lawns at least once a week
  • Be wise with watering
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs
  • Put stakes in for tall or floppy plants

Maintaining Weed Control

Persistent or deep rooted weeds can be very difficult to eradicate, which is why ongoing control is often required.

Annual weeds and ephemeral weeds, which live for a year or less are the easiest to control, as they are usually shallow rooted. However, they can scatter seed prolifically, so usually reappear and require further attention.

Deep-rooted perennial weeds (which die down in the winter and re-grow each spring) will re-grow from their roots if the tops are removed or burned off. They can be difficult to dig out and may grow up through weed barriers in time.

Method

Re-visit our tips on weeding and the different methods below.

Watering

Watering is key to a healthy garden, particularly in the summer so here’s our top tip for getting it right.

Method

When

Watering in the mornings is the optimum time as this is when the sun comes up and plants start to use water. Plants start to transpire in sunlight, drawing water from the soil, through their roots, up their stems and out through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata. Evening watering is also fine, as the cooler conditions mean less water is lost to evaporation.

Frequency

The larger and more leaves a plant has, the more water it is likely to lose and the more nutrients are needed to grow flowers and fruit. Generally speaking, plants use more water in the summer and less in the cooler winter months. They will also use more in hot, sunny and windy weather. And watering will need to be more frequent during prolonged dry spells with no decent rain. Plants can only effectively use water through their roots, taking water from the surrounding soil or compost. So water needs to get to where it’s needed, at the tip of the roots and not the leaves.

Prune spring-flowering shrubs

Shrubs that flower in late winter, spring and early summer need pruning to encourage healthy shoots and improve flowering. Pruning will also prolong the life of these shrubs.

Method

When to prune

Early-flowering shrubs are pruned after flowering. Pruning straight after flowering allows the maximum time for development of young growth to provide the following year’s flowers before the end of summer.

How to prune

How to prune depends on the type of shrub, but all early-flowering shrubs need routine removal of damaged, diseased or dead wood, as follows:

  • Cut out any damaged or dead shoots back to their point of origin or to ground level
  • Where there are many stems remove some to ground level to keep the bush open and avoid congestion
  • Finally take out any weak, spindly or twiggy shoots right to the point of origin or to ground level so the plant concentrates its resources on strong new shoots that will bear the best flowers

Stake tall plants

Perennials often have strong growth which can make them vulnerable to collapsing. Staking them in early summer will help avoid this.

Method

When to stake

Before plants have made too much growth. If you stake a plant early on then it will grow to hide the support from view. You may need to continue tying the stem or raise the level of the used support as the plant grows. Emergency staking is often necessary as well. set up your make-shift supports as soon as possible should plants start to bend to minimise the damage.

Where to stake

  • When choosing your stake, you need to match it to the vigour of the plant as much as possible
  • Don’t tie in plants too tightly; they should be able to move in the wind
  • When tying in individual stems, use a figure-of-eight technique so the string passes between the stem and the stake to prevent rubbing

May

Summer will soon be here which means warmer temperatures for us to enjoy.

Jobs for this month:

  • Maintain regular weed control
  • Mow lawns weekly
  • Plant your summer beds at the end of the month
  • Water first thing in the morning’s and late at night
  • Check for birds nests before clipping hedges

Watch out for beetles & bugs

Beetles and bugs can cause severe damage to foliage in late spring. Leaves are left discoloured with dried up edges or with holes in them created by larvae and adult beetles so watch out for these symptoms.

Method

Symptoms

  • Holes eaten in the leaves giving the foliage a lace-like appearance
  • Creamy yellow larvae, with black markings and up to 8mm long, are present on plants from April to June
  • Greyish brown adult beetles feed on the leaves from late July to September

Control with pesticide

  • Inspect leaves during spring for signs of feeding on new foliage. This will indicate when the overwintered eggs are hatching
  • The best time to spray is when the newly hatched larvae are feeding on the new foliage from April to May. It is too late to treatment in mid-summer as most defoliation has already been done and only less susceptible adults will be present. Pesticides are likely to be more effective on larvae than adults
  • Heavy infestations which are impractical to remove by hand can be treated with pesticides
  • Organic contact insecticides containing natural pyrethrins. Several applications of these short persistence products may be necessary to give good control
  • More persistent contact insecticides include the synthetic pyrethroids lambda-cyhalothrin
  • The systemic neonicotinoid insecticide acetamiprid is also available
  • Follow label instructions when using pesticides
  • Plants in flower should not be sprayed due to the danger to pollinating insects

 

 

Plant your summer beds

Bedding plants can provide that summer decoration, be that in your beds, borders, containers or hanging baskets. Here’s the information you need for bed plants this May.

Method

Start with the bedding

  • Rake the soil level, be sure to remove any large clods or stones.
  • For formal bedding schemes you can mark out the design on the surface of the soil using fine sand.

Get planting

  • Gently loosen plants from their trays by pushing them up from the base. Handle plants by leaves or rootball
  • Starting with the central block of your design, first lay out the plants on the soil where they are to be planted. Use a template or a rough guide such as the length of a trowel to space plants evenly. Only when you are happy with the positioning should you begin planting
  • Plant so the top of the rootball is just below the soil surface
  • Firm in, using your hands
  • Tip: Work off a timber board to avoid disturbing and compacting the soil

Care

  • Once planting is completed, water in using a watering can without a rose
  • Shallow-rooted plants dry out quickly, so water regularly when they are growing strongly
  • Deadhead spent flowers frequently to promote continual flowering

Care time for bulb based plants

Our buried treasures of the garden. Bulb plants are some of our favourites and spring is a notable time for them, so lets make sure we know how to care for them properly.

Method

Watering and feeding: Our bulbs need adequate watering both while in growth, and for six weeks after flowering. Ensure compost doesn’t dry out, it should feel moist but not wet. You can apply a potassium feed, such as tomato fertiliser, to encourage bulbs to flower well from early spring until six weeks after flowering.

Deadheading: When flowers are spent, cut them back to the base of the flower stalk if seed is not required for propagation. This will prevent the plant spending energy on seed production, conserving resources in the bulb for next year’s display.

Cut back foliage: Wait for at least six weeks after the end of flowering before cutting back the dead foliage, and ideally only remove foliage when it is yellow and straw-like. Until this time, the bulbs should be watered and fed as above.

Lifting and storing bulbs: Bulbs should only be lifted and stored where this is practical. Those in areas of lawn, or planted in borders be left in the garden during the dormant season. For those you want to lift, once the foliage has died down, gently lift and clean the bulbs. Trim back roots and the outer layers of loose or flaking tunic. Keep healthy bulbs of a good size and dispose of damaged or diseased. Lay bulbs on a tray to dry for 24 hours to help prevent fungal rots developing in storage. Put the bulbs in labelled paper bags or nets and store in a dry, cool place.

Controlling weeds

Hold fire on the weed killer, weeds can be controlled without the use of chemical weed killers. These chemicals could harm your grass or plants, not to mention be harmful to your pets. So lets try the manual method first.

Methods

Manual removal

Hoeing: Run a hoe tool over the bed or between rows to kill weed seedlings. Do this on a dry none windy day for maximum effect. This will mean the seedlings will dry out on the surface of the bed rather than re-root into moist soil.

Hand pulling: Annual weeds will need pulling up by hand before they set seed. Try to dig these out with as much root or bulb as possible using your hand or a border fork. This will be easiest on light soils. Be cautious when near garden plants, you do not want to disturb the roots of these while hand pulling.

Weeding tools: A weed knife has a hooked end and can be a useful tool for when weeding between slabs or along path edging. There are a range of other tools also available for weeding jobs, for example digging out dandelions from your lawn.

Cutting: If you have a large are of weeds repeatedly cutting them to ground level will eventually weaken or even kill them.

Flame Gun: Use a flame gum to scorch weeds between paving slabs or on driveways. Use a flame gun only when foliage is dry and allow enough burn-time for deep rooted weeds to be killed.


April

Spring is here which means the inevitable April showers but some sunny days too.

Jobs for this month:

  • Sow new lawns or repair bare patches
  • Keep weeds under control
  • Feed shrubs and roses
  • Sow herbs and wild flower seeds outdoors
  • Increase the water given to houseplants

 


Repairing bare patches

Grounds Maintenance

We get patches in our lawn for all sorts of reasons, and unfortunately they are not likely to repair themselves. Now is the time when you can take action, make repairs and get our lawns looking much better ready for summer.

Methods

Using turf

  1. Cut out the damaged area of lawn in a square.
  2. Lightly fork over the soil in this area.
  3. Cut out an identical-sized square of healthy turf from another area of the garden where it will not be missed, or use new turf if you have it.
  4. Place the healthy turf over the area and brush a sandy lawn top-dressing into the crevices around the square.
  5. Compress the turf edges with the back of a rake.
  6. Water in with a watering can fitted with a fine rose.

Using seed

  1. Cut out the damaged area of lawn in a square.
  2. Lightly fork over the soil in this area.
  3. Sprinkle some crumbly top soil or compost over the base of the removed square if you have it.
  4. Scatter the grass seed over this base as per the instructions given on the packet of seed or by the supplier.
  5. You can cover the seed with a light sprinkling of top soil or compost to hide it from the birds.
  6. Water in with a watering can fitted with a fine rose.

Remember to water these areas daily, when we have sunny days the optimum time to water your grass is before 10:00am or after 6:00pm.

Need some advice? Our expert advisors are happy to help with any questions you have

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