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May Jobs for the Garden

Category Garden
Published 1 May 2019

May Jobs for the Garden

Summer’s officially on its way, and with the sun peeking through, our gardens are fast becoming beautiful, bustling spaces, full of life and vibrant colour. Read more for tips and tricks on how to prep, maintain and enjoy to the full.

Mow the Lawn

Maintaining the lawn is a task for many homeowners, the transformation that a freshly cut lawn can give a garden leaves many feeling happy and house proud. If you’re new to lawn etiquette, or just a little out of practice, it can be tricky to navigate the change in season and weather, so we’ve compiled a few pointers for May to help you along the way:

  • As we move into the sunny season, you should aim to mow twice weekly to keep your lawn in tip top shape, and only once per week in times of drought
  • Though lower cuts may appear more attractive on the surface, excessive close mowing can leave your lawn suffering. This type of mowing can not only weaken your grass, but also make it more vulnerable to weeds and moss, and more demanding of feeds and watering. Instead, it’s advised to never cut below one-third of the shoots, encouraging a lawn that’s just right
  • Accidental scalping can also leave your grass looking worse for wear, and may be caused by low cuts, turning too fast with your mower and an uneven surface. Always ensure your blades are correctly set and, for the best results, avoid using blunt blades.

Trim and tidy your shrubs

For continued growth, reach for your trusty secateurs and tidy up any early flowering shrubs once they have finished their displays. May is always a good time to give your evergreen shrubs a trim too before a world of new growth can begin.

Remember newly planted shrubs only need a slight trimming to give them the best chance of establishing and rooting in their new home.

With established shrubbery, look out for any dead or damaged shoots and take these right back to encourage fresh, healthier roots to come to the fore. Where there are clusters of many stems, reduce these down also to allow the plant to focus its effort on fewer key support lines.

Ground Control

Garden pests, specifically weeds, can leave a garden looking and feeling unnecessarily unruly, and can become particularly troublesome in the warmer months. Although using only manual removal, including hoeing and repeated cutting, can be very effective for some, persistent, deeper rooted weeds can prove extremely difficult to tackle and may require on-going control and chemical treatment.

For those smaller manual jobs though, hand weeding with a specially designed fork or spiked tool can be performed on lighter soils, where it does not affect the health of surrounding plants. Hooked, spiral and narrow bladed garden tools are recommended for this removal method to help make the job a little easier, and when dealing with perennial weeds, you’ll want to dig out as much bulb as possible.

Don’t Forget the Birds and the Bees

Whilst your garden may be brimming with plant life, it’s also important not to forget your little daily visitors that brighten up the outdoor space. Birds, bees and small insects like ground beetles are all likely to stop and say hello, so why not organise a warm welcome for them?

Ground beetles, centipedes and other insects help with pest control at night, keeping your plants happy and healthy. They tend to reside in woody habitats, so creating a deadwood shelter with borders of stones and sticks is one of the best ways to prepare them for summer.

Bees are also known for making themselves busy in your garden, and as pollinators, nectar-rich plants and herbs such as lavender and rosemary offer all they need to go about their day.

Leaving out wild bird food in feeders or scattering in the garden keeps blue tits, gold finches and other seasonal birds and their chicks well fed.

Top Tip: If you choose to scatter your feed, remember to mix up the space to avoid inviting unwanted vermin and only use as much is necessary without waste.