Gardening tips March to May

A slug eating flowersAs the weather starts to get warmer it’s important to protect plants and newly emerging shoots from pests such as slugs. This can be achieved by two different methods; chemical and non-chemical.

Non-chemical methods of slug control

  • Beneficial nematode (such as Nemaslug) – These microscopic worms live in the soil and feed on a variety of pests. It’s usually a solution that’s mixed with water, and sprayed on the soil, releasing the nematode and attacking the slugs and snails. It’s best used in the evening when the temperature is between 5c and 20c.
  • Organic slug pellets.
  • Stale beer in saucers or small containers. Slugs, attracted by the scent of beer, will crawl in and then drown.
  • Citrus fruits such as orange peel, melon rind, and grapefruit skins, placed around plants will attract slugs. Check regularly and remove the critters. Replace the fruit every few days.

Chemical methods of slug control

  • Slug pellets. Apply sparingly to the area around plants. Follow manufacturer’s instructions in order to protect children and pets.

More garden jobs you can do during March

  • Planting bulbsPlant summer flowering bulbs such as alliums, begonias, freesias, and gladioli.
  • Lift and divide perennials.
  • Top-dress containers; remove a shallow layer of compost from the top and replace with fresh compost.
  • Prune bush and climbing roses.
  • Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) shrubs and trees. This will produce colourful winter stems.
  • Hoe and mulch soil (if the soil isn’t too wet). Mulching improves soil condition and prevents weeds from growing.
  • Plants onions, shallots, and early potatoes.
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