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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