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What To Do In The Garden In March

The Gardens are starting to awaken and colour is now returning. The snowdrops are out up the back drive and the crocus in the garden are opening in the sunlight. The daffodils are showing their heads too! Although the days are cold it’s time to start getting back out into the garden. When you get to work, with the winter sun on your back, it’s actually quite pleasant out there!

Now is the time to finish (or start!) those jobs you didn’t quite get done or just never got around to! Our list is quite extensive!

The first thing you need to do is clear away any debris that may have found its way into your garden. Bits of twig and leaves in those little nooks and crannies. Chop down any dead plant matter from herbaceous and annual plants. The birds will have had time to take the seeds from the heads by now. Clear all this away and you’ll see that the garden looks better already.

Now take a walk around the garden with a hot cuppa as reward for your efforts!

Examine your rose bushes. Look at the strength of the stems and their direction of growth. Think about how you might like the bush to look.

Right! You’ve finished your tea.

Let’s get to work!

Depending on the type of rose you have the pruning guide will differ.

But for all bush type roses cut out any of those inwardly facing stems we were looking for earlier.

For Hybrid Teas you will need to take out any weak or thin stems. You can  then cut the remaining stems as low as 5 or 6 buds above the base. Choosing an outward facing bud and cut just above this at an angle. This will prevent water from collecting on the wound and splitting the wood. If you are growing for larger blooms you may cut as low as 4 buds however flowers will be fewer using this method.

For Floribundas cut 6 or 8 buds above the base. Again remove any inwardly facing stems and cut the weak stems hard.  

Climbing roses need only dead wood and old stems removing. Removing old stems can be started in the 4th year of growth. Take out 1 of the oldest stems 12” - 24” from the base and continue to do this every year thereafter. Train in any wayward stems horizontally this will  encourage more flowering stems to shoot.

Rambling roses need only be clipped over to tidy the shape after flowering. You may also remove any stems that you think look out of place and any dead wood should also be cut away.

Shrub roses will need to be cut back by about a half. This will keep the bush full and prevent it from becoming too leggy. There are exceptions to the rule such as canary bird. This is a species rose that does not much like being pruned. It should be allowed a large space in which to grow without much disturbance.

Once you have pruned your roses it would be an idea to start your spraying regime. If there is blackspot present in your garden spraying early will help to keep it under control. Remember to spray not just the roses but any supports that you may have put in place for them. Also a spray around the base of the plant will help to kill off any spores in the soil surface. If you prefer to work organically, start your foliar feeding as soon as the leaves start to show. Again spraying around the base of the plant to give the roots some nourishment too.

After you have finished your spraying it is a good idea to mulch around your roses with some composted farmyard manure. About an inch or 2 thick keeping a few inches from the stems. Mulch more thickly if you suffer with fungal diseases. A thicker mulch will bury any soil borne spores deeper and hopefully suppress them altogether!

Continuing to foliar feed every 3-4 weeks throughout the growing season will help to keep your roses healthy and strong.

Now time for a cuppa or something stronger!!

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