February has been a month of record rain fall and below average sunshine hours but the plants have grown and so have the weeds. March is the end of summer and what I call the harvest month as much of the fruit is ready for picking along with the summer vegetables such as the tomatoes and pumpkins. 

I haven't noticed many spider mites or thrips around this month but that does not mean that they are not there! Have a close look at the undersides of leaves and treat the plants for them if they are seen, especially on those plants that are prone to them. 

The lawns are growing rapidly with the extra moisture but with the warmer temperatures there are signs of fungi infections that may need to be treated. Cutting the grass a little lower may be helpful by allowing more light to the turf. March is also a good time to spray the lawns for broad leaf weeds and to do any repairs or over sowing to the grass.

The extra rain has caused some of the summer flowers to look a little untidy; to keep them going continue to dead head and even give them a light trim to encourage fresh growth. Dahlias will continue to flower but will need to be treated for mildew as well as having the old flowers removed.

Autumn perennials including asters, chrysanthemums etc. should now be properly staked as they approach their maximum height. 

Winter vegetables should be planted and well established before the end of the month and arrival of cooler temperatures. Insect pests are prevalent now, especially caterpillars and whitefly. Good control now will reduce the numbers over wintering in your garden.

Weeds have grown very fast this month and will be coming into seed so weeding them out now will reduce the seed getting into the soil. Remember, one years seeding is seven years weeding! 

This month is one for taking cuttings of plants like fuchsias, geraniums, begonias and many shrubs. Choose only healthy plants from which to take the cuttings (if you're not sure come along to the Outdoor Propagation workshop!). Spring bulbs are now in the retailers choose only the firm clean bulbs and prepare the ground for planting them next month.

Good Gardening, Michael Coulter

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