Proper garden care can result in luscious green grass, vibrant plants and sparkling patios. From scorching summers to icy winters, your garden goes through a lot – so knowing how to maintain it is important.
A little TLC can go a long way when it comes to garden care – it’s much easier to set a short amount of time aside each month, than it does to restore a neglected garden back to health.
Follow the advice below and discover how to maintain your garden with a few simple tasks like pruning, weeding and feeding.
Let’s get started with what you’ll need….
1. How to prune plants
When it comes to garden care, regular pruning will keep your plants neat and healthy. By trimming them back, you can also stop them from growing too wide and encroaching on neighbouring plants.
Take your pruners and make an angled cut just above a visible outward facing bud. Snip away any damaged or dead branches so new shoots can form on the healthy limb next time the plant is in season. Put any discarded twigs and branches in your garden bag or compost bin.
Deadheading flowered plants
For large budding plants, snip away flowers that are past their best. Carefully check where the optimal place to make a cut is – if there are new buds on the stem you’re cutting, keep your pruning as close to the dead flower as possible.
With plants that have lots of small flowers, wait until there are quite a few looking lifeless so you can prune a moderate-sized section all at once. New buds will flourish in their place in no time.
Removing dead wood from bushes and trees
When cutting back bushes or trees, use pruners for smaller sections of dead wood and a pruning saw or tree loppers for thicker branches. Make sure to cut the dead wood as close to the base as possible to encourage healthy re-growth.
Top tip: Most woody plants need to be pruned during the dormant season, unless they flower in Spring – in which case you should prune them after flowering.
2. Shape your shrubs
Pruning not only keeps plants healthy, but also keeps them looking neat and tidy. Wait until your shrub’s dormant season before you start making changes to its shape. Topiary – for example – is best to shape in late Spring and again later in the Summer. Use long-handled shears for larger shrubs so you can cut down thicker branches. Then take shears or hedge-trimmers to help perfect your shrub and get it looking even.
3. Get rid of unwanted weeds
Weeds tend to pop up just about everywhere. When left untreated, they can take over large areas of space, as they grow and multiply quickly. They like to compete with your other plants for nutrients, space, sunlight and water – so it’s best to remove them as part of garden care maintenance.
Manually removing weeds
For small weeds – all you need is a hand fork, whereas a bigger garden fork is better for digging out those a little on the large side. Ensure you pull all the roots out to avoid regrowth.
Top tip: When getting rid of weeds in your garden bed, don’t turn over the surrounding soil. This can unearth dormant seeds, which could germinate when they reach the surface. Add a layer of compost to the surface of where you’ve been digging to prevent the seeds from developing.
Removing weeds with a chemical treatment
Make sure you select the right product for the area you’re treating. Some weedkillers are best suited to paved areas, some are designed for use on lawns and others are good for use within beds and borders.
For large areas, there are water soluble concentrated treatments which you mix in a watering can or sprayer. If you’re using one of these, keep the vessel separate from your others, to avoid accidentally killing other plants when watering.
If you’re unsure which weed killer is best, check out this handy guide.
Top tip: Before you apply treatment to soil, check the earth is moist is and the weather is dry as rain will wash away weedkiller.
4. Feed your plants
All plants take in nutrients through the soil they’re planted in. Therefore, using plant food and fertiliser will provide your greenery with that nutritional boost for optimal growth and is an essential step in garden care.
Some choices are good all-rounders, but you can also buy fertilisers for specific flowers, fruits and vegetables. If you’re using a concentrate, read the instructions on the pack to see the ratio of fertiliser or food to water you need. Be careful as concentrated forms may cause harm to plants if they’re not mixed with the correct amount of liquid. Add your solution to a spray bottle or watering can and apply to the roots of the plant.
Granular forms of food and fertiliser can be sprinkled around plant roots and either watered or raked in to enrich the soil.
Top tip: Remember your plants will need more care if they’re potted. Use an appropriate compost and water them regularly to make sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need. However, avoid over watering as waterlogged pots with no drainage can kill a plant.
Now you’re up to scratch on your garden care, check out our ideas on how to create your ideal outdoor living space – so, you can enjoy your well-maintained garden with friends and family.