MUST dos in the garden this month
- First things first, adjust watering as the day temperatures increase, always abiding by water restrictions.
- Spike compacted lawns to aerate them and apply a thin layer of lawn dressing to improve soil condition and encourage growth. Also, apply the first high nitrogen feed of the season (3:2:1 or 7:1:3).
- Clivias are synonymous with September. If you’re missing out on their beautiful bursts of colour - now is the time to plant them! Plant in dappled shade and well-draining soil.
- Now is the perfect time to take softwood cuttings from the tender new growth.
Grow from softwood cuttings
A softwood cutting is a shoot terminal with the growing tip intact. They are mostly taken very early in the season before there is any sign of hardening in the new shoot. They can take about 4 - 8 weeks to root and herbaceous plants (those plants that die down in winter) are usually best propagated by taking 8 - 10cm softwood cuttings in Spring. They include: Chrysanthemum, Fuschia, Dahlia, Hydrangea, Impatiens, Pelargonium and geranium. However, in this how-to guide, we took softwood cuttings from lavender which is not a herbaceous plant.
- Prepare beds for summer planting. Incorporate compost, a dusting of hoof, horn and bone meal, and dig in a handful of fertiliser (2:3:2) for each square meter.
- The garden will benefit from an application of general fertilizer to maintain strong spring growth. Water thoroughly and spread compost under trees, shrubs and climbers as a mulch.
- Warmer weather also welcomes weeds, so make sure that you get on top of weeding early in the season.
- Prune shrubs, trees and climbers that have finished flowering.
- Regularly deadhead flowers to encourage continuous flowering, unless you want to save the seed.
- Feed bulbs with a high potash fertilizer to boost the development of flowers and continue to water.
- Feed Hydrangeas with a general fertilizer and a solution of iron chelate. Water well.
- Divide and transplant ornamental grasses and crowded perennials that have finished flowering.
- Cut back, mulch and feed ground-covers that have become untidy.
- Boost Cymbidium orchids with a fertiliser high in nitrogen to boost leaf growth.
- Clean out water features and divide and replant aquatic plants if necessary.
- Fertilize rose bushes with a balanced rose fertilizer, Epsom salts and increase watering.
- Add a good layer of mulch around roses.
- Pinch prune Hybrid Tea roses to encourage new basal growth and root development.
- Remove the last of the spent winter crops and prepare beds, containers and hanging baskets for summer vegetables and herbs.
- Water seedlings daily and feed with an organic fertilizer every fortnight.
- Now is the time to plant seed potatoes and sweet potatoes in well-prepared beds.
- There is still time to get asparagus crowns in the ground. Soil preparation is key!
- Ensure citrus trees that are in blossom are well watered.
- Plant strawberries in hanging baskets, containers or beds.
- Take cuttings from pineapple sage, rosemary and thyme.
Indoor plant care
- Reduce the amount of water given to Cyclamens.
- Inspect roses for aphids, thrips, bollworm and powdery mildew.
- Keep an eye on Clivias and other lilies, like Amaryllis and Agapanthus for the deadly lily borer.
- Protect fruit trees from the fruit fly and codling moth by starting spray treatment when at least three-quarters of the petals have dropped.
- Put bait out for cutworm, slugs and snails.
- Leafcurl on peaches.
- Citrus psylla on lemons.