insideKENT Magazine Issue 61 - April 2017 - Page 150




1 . Keep weeds under control 2 . Protect fruit blossom from late frosts 3 . Tie in climbing and rambling roses 4 . Sow hardy annuals , herbs and wild flower seed outdoors 5 . Start to feed citrus plants 6 . Increase the water given to houseplants 7 . Feed hungry shrubs and roses 8 . Sow new lawns or repair bare patches 9 . Prune fig trees 10 . Divide bamboos and waterlilies
How to control weeds without chemicals :
Hoeing : Run a hoe over a bed or between rows to kill most weed seedlings . For maximum effectiveness , choose a dry day with a light wind , so that the seedlings will dry out on the surface of the bed rather than rerooting into moist soil .
Hand-pulling or hand-weeding with a fork : Pull up annual weeds by hand before they set seed . Perennial weeds should be dug out with as much root ( or bulb ) as possible , using a hand or border fork . Hand weeding is easiest on lighter soils and should only be attempted where it will not disturb the roots of garden plants . Further pulling may be necessary with persistent weeds such as bindweed or couch grass where small root sections left behind can re-grow into new plants .
Weed knife and other weeding tools : A weed knife has a hooked end and is a useful tool for weeding between paving slabs and along path edging . Various other hooked , narrow-bladed or spiral-type tools are available for specific weeding jobs such as digging out dandelions on a lawn .
Repeated cutting : In large weedy areas , repeated cutting to ground level over several years will weaken and even kill some weeds . This is usually done with a strimmer or sickletype weeder .
Flame gun : Scorch off weeds between paving slabs and on driveways by blasting them with a flame gun . Use only when the foliage is dry and allow sufficient burn-time for deep-rooted weeds , such as dandelions , to be killed .
Mulching : Use deep organic mulches such as bark or wood chip to smother weeds around plants . To be effective , keep them topped up to a minimum depth of 10-15cm ( 4-6in ) to smother established annual weeds . Keep woody stems clear of mulch to prevent rotting .
Edging boards or strips : These can be used to edge lawns and grass paths to prevent unwanted grass growth into the border . Especially useful where invasive rooted grasses such as couch grass are a problem .
Plants need feeding if they : are showing signs of nutrient deficiency ; are producing lower than expected yields of flowers or fruit ; or are putting on less growth than expected ( but appear otherwise healthy and are growing in suitable conditions ). Feeding is usually done in spring or summer , during the growing season . Few plants need fertiliser in the winter months , even if they are winter flowering . Some organic fertilisers , such as fish blood and bone or poultry manure pellets , are slow