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Planting & caring for shrubs … And other jobs for the garden this Easter.

Published: 1st April, 2015

Planting shrubs It’s April, officially the start of British summertime. One minute it’s warm and then the next the grass is covered in a layer of frost! But it’s Easter weekend coming up, traditionally the start of the gardening season, and there is plenty that you can be getting on with even if the sun is being a little evasive!

Shrubs are an essential element for year round interest in your garden. Whether evergreen or deciduous, they provide a continuously changing but ever-present background to your more short lived plants. While some shrubs can be left to grow unchecked others must be kept in good shape by regular and sometimes rigorous pruning.

Shrubs with woody stems such as Buddleia, Hydrangeas, Lavatera, Hardy Fuchsias, Artemisia, and Lavender need to be cut back at this time of year because they only bloom on new branches. Prune the branches to encourage the plant to start flowering. Most of these shrubs start to show signs of buds opening on the lower part of the stem and this indicates the best time to start pruning.

When it comes to new plants the Garden centres are overflowing with new container grown shrubs and now is a great time to buy and plant them out.

To plant a new shrub, start by watering the plant generously just before planting, this will make it easier to slide the root ball out of the container. Hit the sides of the container with the palm of your hand to help release the plant from its container, rotating the pot at the same time. Grip the base of the plant and gently pull until the root ball comes free. Loosen the roots from the ball so they don’t continue to wrap around the plant and are ready to start spreading out into the soil.

Dig a hole the same depth but much wider than the roots of the shrub you’re planting so they have room to grow and aren’t struggling through compacted soil. Mix some soil improver with the soil from the hole and use this to re-fill. To ensure good drainage loosen the base of the hole with a garden fork.

Carefully place the plant into the hole, and once you are happy that the root ball is at the correct depth, turn the plant until its most attractive side faces the front of the border.

Now backfill the hole, with the same soil you removed. Fill the hole two-thirds of the way to the top, then add water to settle the soil before you fill the remainder of the hole. Hold the tree or shrub upright while firming the soil around the base with your foot. Leave a saucer-shape basin of soil at the base of the plant to collect water.

Henry Street Garden Centre has a huge range of new shrubs to choose from as well as all the soil improvement and liquid feed products that you might need to help your plant get quickly and happily established. Visit us in store and ask any of our staff for help on the right plants for your garden and their care.

Here are a few other important spring gardening jobs that you could complete over the Easter weekend:

Weeding. Tidy up the borders to get rid of the weeds which are now growing at great speed and to prepare the beds by gently forking over the soil between plants to make it lighter. When removing weeds such as dandelions, creeping-buttercup and nettles make sure that you remove as much of the root system as possible, to prevent them from spreading later on.

Mulch plants by applying a layer of bark chips or other well-rotted organic matter to condition the soil, feed the plants, suppress weeds and conserve moisture in summer.

Dead head the Daffodils to preserve energy in the bulbs for next year. Don’t fold the leaves over and tie them up, just leave them to die back naturally.

The lawn will probably be due its first cut of the season, if it’s dry enough to do so. Set the lawn mower blades a bit higher for the first cut. April is the best month to reseed any bare patches as the weather grows warmer. At the end of the month apply a little lawn fertiliser. Read our full guide to spring lawn care.

If you need something for the children over the bank holiday Henry Street will be holding it’s ever popular ‘Easter Bunny Hunt’. Just find all the hidden cuddly rabbits to claim an Easter reward!

Happy Easter to all our customers and Happy Gardening!

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