Trees, Shrubs and Roses
- Continue to spray rose bushes against blackspot disease, especially before and after wet weather.
- All young trees should be checked for water shortage, which can occur even with plenty of rain as it does not always reach the roots. Signs are listless small leaves and slow growth.
- Control weeds and grass at the base of young trees to remove competition - young trees need weed-free conditions for about five years.
- Ensure a weed-free circle of at least one metre diameter. This can be achieved with old carpet, plastic or suitable weedkillers.
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- Do not cut away the foliage of spring bulbs, such as daffodils and snowdrops, it is important that the leaves be allowed to die back naturally to feed the bulb for next year's flowers.
- Spring bulbs can be lifted and moved while the green foliage is present.
- Perennial flowers can be planted from pots.
- If there is no choice, most perennial flowers survive being moved at any time if well watered afterwards.
- Stake perennial flowers that need it, well in advance of when they need it, especially in a windy garden.
- Sow seeds of hardy annual flowers - candytuft, calendula, Californian poppy and nemophila are pretty, also nasturtiums.
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- Regular mowing should be kept up and increased in frequency in the coming weeks to keep pace with the increasing surge of grass growth.
- Most lawns grow strongly during these weeks but very hungry grass will only grow poorly. The removal of grass clippings removes nutrients. Mulch mowing returns the nutrients to the soil.
- Feeding with lawn fertilizer or high-nitrogen fertiliser will bring the grass on but be careful not to put on too much - little and often is best.
- Lawn weedkillers can be used to control broad-leaved lawn weeds in warm, fine weather when the soil is moist.
- Use no fertilizer or weedkiller on wildflower lawn areas.
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Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
- Vegetables sown in recent weeks are likely to need thinning now. Early thinning is a great help to young vegetable plants because they can benefit from the lack of competition right away.
- Weeds among vegetables should be removed now while they are still small and before they get a chance to develop. The first flush of weeds is always the worst but if it is controlled, it will be easy to stay ahead.
- Herbs seeds can be sown in warm soil.
- If codling moth was a problem on apple trees last year, a spray of systemic insecticide should be applied at petal fall and two weeks later. The hormone traps do not work so well in a domestic garden.
- The normal sprays for apple scab should be kept up, especially following wet weather.
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Fruit growing | Vegetables | Herbs
Greenhouse and House Plants
- Feed all bedding plants and tender vegetables for planting out at the end of May and keep them growing well. Space the pots adequately to ensure proper development.
- If possible, plant out tomatoes now in the greenhouse.
- Check for greenflies which can build up rapidly.
- Remove excess shoots of a grapevine every couple of weeks to keep it under control and tie in new shoots that are needed for extension growth.
- Continue to feed and water generously to push growth on.
- If tomato plants planted out earlier are flowering, ease off watering and feeding until the first truss of fruit is set.
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