More Garden tips for May

MORE GARDEN TIPS FOR MAY

HEDGING

Now is a good time to trim back your evergreen  hedging. The hedging trees and shrubs are throwing all their energy into producing new shoots. Trim them back and you will cause the plant to put its energy into renewing not extending growth. The shoots are far more tender now and less difficult to cut . As an added bonus there is less clearing up afterwards.  Especially if the hedge stands above grass –  your mower will suck up the cuttings for you.

This month at the TESCO stores we maintain you will see us busy doing  the pruning of the beds and the trimming back of all the hedges.

BUT REMEMBER WILDLIFE

Very carefully check the hedge to make sure there are no nesting birds.

http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/policy/wildbirdslaw/birdsandlaw/wca/index.asp

AND HEALTH AND SAFETY

The domestic garden is as every bit a dangerous environment as the workplace. Often more so. A quick look at

www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/safety_prevent_accidents.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/safety_prevent_accidents.shtml

shows how many accidents there each year. Not only the ultimate tragedy of falling off a step ladder onto an open pair of shears but also simpler dangers – for example failure to lift properly or over exercise of muscles rarely used.

Although much criticised Health and Safety is a valuable exercise in modern life and keeps people out of casualty. A `Method Statement` can be quite simple. Just list what you need to do in the order you will do it in. Then prepare a `Risk Assessment`.

Eg

Method Statement

1

Put up step ladders

2

Start up electric hedge cutter.

Risk Assessment

1

Step ladders are not safe. Invest in proper platforms eg henchman

www.henchman.co.uk/product_selector.jsf

2

Has your electrician tested your machine. Have you got a circuit breaker on your mains electric.

If not do not use.

Remember – If you do not think it safe – do not risk it.

LAWNS

After a slow cold start lawns are now beginning to grow. Lack of rain has further slowed them down but once we get normal rainfall they will be  away.

You do not need to religiously reduce every area of grass to a velvet Wimbledon like cover. These days margins at the edges of lawns are often left to grow allowing natural wildflower plants to grow and flower to the benefit of wildlife.

Plants attract insects which birds are able to feed from. This is especially important for some species whose fledglings are dependant in the first weeks for a supply of insect food. Over excessive tidiness – frequent cutting of grass , incessant weeding of borders is partly responsible for the plunge in bird population.

BULBS IN GRASS

Locate picture

At the BBC in Bangor we have planted Narcissus obvallaris (Tenby Lilies / Welsh Daffodils ) and Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrops native to Wales) in the margins of the lawn. This means that as the natural plants in the margins grow the Daffodils and Snowdrops  are able to die back enabling the nutrients stored in the foliage to return to the bulbs. If you have time to dead head them so much the better as it prevents the plant expending energy into producing seed and concentrate instead of revitalising itself for a good show next year.

Whilst on the subject whenever planting bulbs find out which plants are native to your

area

www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/plants-fungi/postcode-plants/intro.html

discover the conditions in which they grow naturally and plant them there.

If your local garden centre cannot help try us.

Please avoid `Daffodil Bling`.

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/28/daffodil-planting-native-wildf…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/28/daffodil-planting-native-wildflowers-threat

WEEDS

The best definition of a weed is – a plant in the wrong place. Even indigenous wild flowers may qualify here !! Weeds settling into concrete cracks or spreading below tarmac and forcing their way through the tarmac will cause very expensive eradication and repair costs.

Of the herbicides available at your local garden center Round Up is by far the most effective but it does only kill weeds whose foliage you are able to treat. And beware of accidentally hitting plants you want to keep – always keep a pair of secateurs or a filled watering can with you when spraying – to cut off the accidentally treated foliage or wash off the chemical.

EXAMPLES OF BETTER WAYS OF WEED CONTROL

1

After eradicating as far as possible weed in borders (if by hand removing all root or after spraying with  Round Up) lay a thick covering of matured bark mulch which also helps keep soil moist and in itself provides nutrition to the soil besides giving the bed a rich background colour to better show off planting.

2

Beware of `Forest Chippings`. These are often freshly chipped prunings from trees which have not yet had time to compost and will leach nitrogen from the soil.

3

If you lay gravel – use good weed suppressant sheeting.

4

Make sure all paving is well grouted to prevent wild seed germinating between paving. Although there is a tradition of establishing eg chamomile and other plants between flagstones giving a pleasant perfume to foot tread. One of our clients

www.red-welly.co.uk

has used the same idea to establish grass seed between paving  which is occasionally checked with a strimmer.

5

Regularly clean surfaces – especially the edges – to prevent eg leaves breaking down into a medium into which seed is able to root.

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