THE UPKEEP of a perfect lawn is not a matter of simply
mowing. By adopting a programme of routine maintenance, it is
possible to have a respectable lawn that will remain in good
condition throughout the growing season.
Start in early spring
by raking the lawn with a spring-tine rake to remove all the
debris of winter. An alternative is to use a mechanical
scarifier, which will remove moss and debris at a dramatic rate.
Give the lawn its first cut now on a dry day and set the blade
height to a suitable setting. Scarify and spike compacted grass
Towards the end of March when the weather is
warm and the grass is growing actively, apply a spring weed and
feed fertiliser. There are many suitable proprietary mixtures
available - apply according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Flowering trees and shrubs deserve a place in every garden. Few
plants offer such a varied beauty for such little work as the
early flowering rhododendrons, cliplinense, preacox, spring
glory, cheer, snipe and ostara - they all bring a splash of
colour and scent at this time of year when most gardens contain
little to please the eye.
Early flowering rhododendrons make
useful evergreen plants for the mixed border requiring little or
no maintenance apart from the removal of spent flower heads and
an annual top-dress of fertiliser to keep them looking healthy.
Jobs to be getting on with this week -
Top-dress newly planted
trees with a mulch of organic matter, farmyard manure, or a
scattering of grow-more fertiliser.
Start over wintered tubers
of dahlias and begonias by watering and bringing them into the
Continue to pot seedlings and prick out newly
germinated seedlings when the first leaves appear into trays or
pots filled with a good potting mixture, and keep a check on the
glasshouse heater that the temperature does not drop below zero.
Now is a great time to lift and divide herbaceous plants. Choose
a day for lifting plants when the soil is damp but not so sticky
that it clings to your boots or spade. Overgrown perennials once
lifted are often difficult to split as the roots are so
congested. This may be overcome by inserting two garden forks
backto-back. Pull the handles together to separate the plant or
use a sharp knife or spade to cut through the roots or crown.