MARCH PARKS AND GARDENS MAINTENANCE TASKS

This is the MARCH installment of Horticulture Week's month-by-month guide to essential maintenance and management tasks for parks, gardens and grounds maintenance staff.

Office
Check first-aid kits and the availability of trained responders for public openings/events
Update pesticide records
Update sowing records
Consider new staff workwear ahead of the busy visitor period
Organise new letters for website
Nominate staff for hygiene rota, cleaning toilets, stocking soap and paper towels
Check staff are up-to-date with tetanus injections

General
Prepare for the slugs and snails
Increase intensity of weed control
Trees, shrubs and hedges
Inspect for wind damage and check ties and stakes
Finish planting bare-root trees and shrubs, including fruit trees, fruit bushes and hedging material
Root prune any deciduous shrubs that will be moved in the autumn
Prune roses and cornus and finish pruning late-flowering shrubs
Layer hydrangeas and other suitable shrubs to bulk up stocks

Beds and borders
Remove remaining old growth from herbaceous borders and plant new plants
Lift and divide overgrown clumps of summer-flowering herbaceous plants
Apply fertiliser if not done last month
Bulk up herbaceous plants such as delphiniums by taking basal-stem cuttings
Divide polyanthus-type primulas after flowering and move to nursery area
Plant out autumn-sown sweet peas, or sow directly outdoors
Sow hardy annuals outdoors
Start to harden off hardy annuals sown indoors
Sow half-hardy annuals and tender perennials in the prop house

Wall Plants
Cut back honeysuckles, winter jasmine and rambling roses
Prune late-flowering clematis if not done last month
Plant new climbing plants

Containers
Check regularly

Bulbs
Deadhead daffodils as they go over
In the south, plant summer-flowering bulbs and corms such as gladioli and lilies

Greenhouses and conservatories
Check for panes loosened by gales
Clean glass
Ventilate as necessary
Feed plants and increase watering as appropriate

Water features
Remove dead stems, leaves and weeds from ponds
Divide and replant aquatic and bog plants as appropriate

*Jobs should only be undertaken when ground and weather conditions are suitable and will vary according to location and may vary significantly from year to year. And remember that while the year nicely divides into 12 months, activities often overlap.


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