Prune Spring-flowering shrubs, such as Japanese quince (Chaenomeles), forsythia, choisya and flowering currant (Ribes) after flowering. Remove one stem in three from kerria and spiraea. If your Clematis montana has got out of hand, now is the time to tackle it. Don’t worry too much if you break a few stalks – this is a plant that is very hard to kill.
Tie in new growth on climbing roses while it is still easy to handle, if you haven’t given them a feed now is a good time to start. Feed using a granular feed like Westlands Rose Food, we highly recommend this food as it contains horse manure which encourages bigger blooms and helps prevent diseases.
Frost should be all gone by now, hopefully! So it is now the time to start planting summer bedding plants. Plant up your outdoor pots and summer hanging baskets, but keep them in a greenhouse or porch for a few weeks to establish, before putting them outside. Establishing the plants encourages roots to grow out and increase their drought tolerance which means they will be able to withstand the drier months ahead.
Not only does mulching lock in the soil’s moisture and improve its texture, it also works to suppress weeds. By covering the soil with Westlands Mini Chipped bark mulch, weed seeds struggle to come into contact with the soil when they land; this, combined with their deprivation of light means they cannot germinate and are prevented from growing. Make sure you apply enough mulch (around 2-3 inches) and ensure that the mulch is not pushed too closely up against your plants. We have multi buy deals on all our composts and bark mulches and offer a pallet deal price if a large amount is needed.
It’s important to check plants regularly for pests, fruit, vegetables and plants. Pay close attention to shoot tips to check for pests, such as capsid bugs, as well as the underside of leaves which can attract aphids, mealy bugs, red spider mites and thrips. There are plenty of ways to ward off those unwanted pests in an eco and wildlife friendly way without causing damage to your plants.
Apply nitrogen-rich summer feed to your lawn to encourage leafy growth. May is the best time of year to do this as the longer daylight hours and warmer soil create the perfect conditions for the grass to grow. Always fertilise your lawn after mowing to avoid disturbing the fertiliser on the surface.
Look after you’re finished spring bulbs for next year. Once they’ve gone over, resist the temptation to cut back the foliage. Instead, let it die and break down on its own and add liquid fertiliser all around the clumps. This will give you an even better display next spring.
If you have planted a new hedge during Autumn or Winter now would be a good time to lay down a porous pipe for irrigation. It is very important to water a newly planted hedge in the first year and not to let it dry out during a dry summer. By putting down a pipe now you will simply need to turn on the tap to water it.