Prepare your outside space for the arrival of spring; welcome wildlife and new-season blooms into the garden with these ten top tips
1. Frost bite
If the weather is good and there is a low risk of another freezing spell, now is a good time to cut back any stems that have been affected by frost damage over the cold winter.
Be sure not to cut away any flowering buds that may have recently appeared and only take stems back to ground level, as many shrubs shoot from the base.
2. Pest control
Keep slugs away from newly-planted shrubs using pellets or more natural tactics, including distraction with other plants or lining your beds with copper to deter them.
Only use pellets when necessary and choose organic brands that don’t pose a risk to animals or other insects that may come into contact with them.
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3. Blast off
During winter, patios and paving will likely become mouldy and mossy so it’s important to get them in tip top condition before they will be used again in the spring time.
Use a pressure washer to remove the slimy patches and clean away the layer of grime covering the stones.
4. Layer up
Help improve soil quality by mulching your borders, to make sure spring blooms reap the benefits.
An organic compost, either homemade from garden waste or shop bought, should be laid as a 5cm thick topping on flower beds to help trap moisture in the soil and suppress weeds.
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5. Sow the seed
Use this time (mid to late March is recommended) to plant summer-blooming bulbs in the garden, such as agapanthus and alliums, as the soil is becoming warmer.
Depending on the weather, you may want to do this under the glass of a greenhouse if there is still a chance of overnight frosts.
6. Lawn order
March is a good time to give your grass the first cut of the year.
Be sure to tackle this task on a dry day, to avoid compacting the soil beneath and damaging the turf, and set the blade to a long setting to prevent creating bald patches. Using a mower with several cutting heights as discussed by GardenDIY gives you the flexibility to choose the correct mowing height regardless of the season.
For similar try, the gardening adult apron, £20, Sophie Allport
7. Time to nest
With many birds returning from their winter migrations, breeding season will soon begin and so nest sites will be highly sought after.
Help birds by hanging bird houses to encourage them into the garden and leave any small off-cuts of twigs and branches within easy reach to lend a helping hand if they need to gather them.
8. Bee happy
The first warm days in March often see bumblebees reappear after the winter months. These are often the queen bees who have survived and are now looking for nectar from spring-blooming plants.
Flowers including crocuses, heathers and poppies are very helpful to the bees during spring, so be sure to introduce them into your beds.
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9. Warm welcome
If you lined your greenhouse with bubble insulation over the winter, now is a good time to remove this as the temperature outside starts to rise. This will also allow more light into the greenhouse to promote growth of the protected seeds and bulbs.
It’s also recommended to open greenhouse ventilation on warmer spring days, to prevent humidity building up inside.
10. Lean on me
Flowers including peonies and hydrangeas can benefit from having extra support to help stop the stems from collapsing under the weight of heavy heads when they bloom.
Putting these supporting structures into the ground when the plants are young mean they will take to them better, as they are supple and will bend into place more readily.