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March Woodland Garden Tips

Tree Planting



March is the best time of the year to plant.

Choose periods when the ground is reasonably dry and you can work with soil which is reasonably friable and not just lumps of mud.
 

Digging the hole
1. Dig out a circular hole which is at least twice the size and depth of the rootball or potful of roots which you are planting. Always loosen the soil at the base of the pit to encourage root growth. If planting in a grassy area as opposed to a weed free border always clear turf & weeds well away.
Fertiliser in hole
2.For best results and especially when planting trees add some peat, leaf mould, compost or well rotted manure to the base of the pit and to the soil which will go back into the planting hole. Add a small handful of fertiliser (e.g. Vitax Q4) or Blood Fish and Bone to the planting pit.
Teasing Roots
3. Gently ease the tree or plant out of its container or rootball wrapper taking great care not to break the rootball. If the is especially pot-bound and the roots are densely intertwined gently tease some of them from the edges so that they can gain purchase on the surrounding soil and grow away properly.
Getting correct level for tree
4. Lower the tree or shrub into the planting position. It is crucial that the plant is planted no more deeply than it was in its pot or previously in the ground. The soil level in the pot must match the soil level in the ground.
Getting correct level for tree
5. Back fill ensuring the soil level is not higher than before. Use a cane to ensure correct level.
Rabbit Guard
6. If rabbits are likely to be a problem the best rabbit protection is a wire netting surround which is at least 2 or 2 foot 6 inches tall.
Spiral Tree Guard
7.A spiral tree guard may suffice where trees have straight stems and are not prone to rabbit damage (NOT SUITABLE FOR MAGNOLIAS). It is best to remove the guards after three years, otherwise ants, slugs and worms can build up soil inside the spiral which again can cause grafts to rot or fail.
Deer Guard
8 If smaller roe or munjac deer are a problem then you need a special deer guard which will require a custom made clear stake and ties. These sorts of tree guard are often used in conjunction with a mulch mat to inhibit week growth around the plant.

 

Pruning Hydrangeas in March



 
 
Cut off the old dead flowers during March, when the sap is only just starting to rise.

For best results cut back the stem only to the first pair of good buds.

This may take you back a little way down the stem and may mean removing one or two buds closer to the old flower.

Where you have too many stems which are too thick by all means prune some of them out completely.

What you must avoid however is pruning too hard where you would effectively be removing the flower buds for the forthcoming season.

Click here for our how to care for your Hydrangeas article, with pruning pictures.


Winter Casualties

scratching back to check for green life
scratching back to check for green lifeclick for larger image

Scratch the stems of plants which appear dead with a fingernail or secateurs.  If there is some green showing prune back the twigs until you find green growth and, as (or if) new shoots appear prune back to these.  Even if the plant appears dead some things will still shoot from ground level if cut back hard now. 

Acacias, bananas and many more tender wall shrubs will often shoot again very vigorously if treated in this way.  Sadly most other tender shrubs and climbers will indeed be dead and need replacing.


 

 

 

 

Lifting and Moving


March is also the time to lift and move established shrubs that are either too big for their current position, or because they are not in the best place in your garden for you.

 

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1. Select shrub to move.

 

 

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2. Carefully prune back shrub to make it easier to move.
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3. Pruning helps reduce water loss.
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4. The plant has less foliage to maintain after the move.
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5. Dig around shrub, with sharp spade to cleanly cut roots.
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6. At least a spades width from base of plant.
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7. Lift carefully and try to keep lots of soil around roots.
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8. Back fill hole left for safety!
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9. Carefully transport to new location.
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10. Dig and prepare new hole for plant.
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11. Water well before planting.
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12. Water new hole.
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13. Ensure plant is at the same level as it was before.
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14. Firm well in.
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15. Water again!
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16. Finished. Now decide whether it needs protection.
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17. Erecting stakes to hold fleece for windbreak.
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18. Fixing fleece.
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19. Fixing fleece.
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20. Staple fix around stakes to hold well in the wind.
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21. A well protected shrub.
 




Dividing and Replanting
 

1.Select plant to divide, normally a conjested clump in need of rejuvenating.click for larger image
1.Select plant to divide, normally a conjested clump in need of rejuvenating.
2. Decide where best to divide.click for larger image
2. Decide where best to divide.
3. If in a pot use hands to break fair sized clumps. If in ground use fork to dig up small sections.click for larger image
3. If in a pot use hands to break fair sized clumps. If in ground use fork to dig up small sections.
4. Keep dividing clump until happy with the clumps produced.click for larger image
4. Keep dividing clump until happy with the clumps produced.
5. Tidy removing any damaged corms or pests.click for larger image
5. Tidy removing any damaged corms or pests.
6. Repot the clumps in correct sized pots, or replant in ground using compost.click for larger image
6. Repot the clumps in correct sized pots, or replant in ground using compost.
7. Water in the newly planted/potted clumps.click for larger image
7. Water in the newly planted/potted clumps.
8. 6 new clumps from one old one.click for larger image
8. new clumps from one old one.

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