Rock Garden Maintenance

If you have made a rock garden or raised bed by following the basic rules, then routine maintenance should be a straight forward task. It will not call for skill as required in the pruning of fruit trees nor the heavy work demanded in the vegetable plot. You should not be troubled by weeds for some time and the plants will flourish in the well drained, gritty conditions you have provided for them. But regular maintenance is not something you can ignore. Leave a shrub border untended for a season and no great harm may result, but leave a rock garden for a year and it may well be ruined.

Treat rock garden care as a routine once-a-week job during the growing season, in the same way as you may treat house plant and lawn maintenance. Weed control will be the major task. Keep the area free from dead plants and debris, and water only when necessary. Dead-head spent flowers where practical, especially if the variety can become a nuisance by self seeding. Label plants which die down for part of the year.

Autumn is the major overhaul time of the year. All fallen leaves must be removed and the stems of rampant plants must be cut back. Do not leave this job for the spring. Cover winter sensitive plants. In spring renew the grit mulch, feed, remove winter protection, firm plants which have been lifted by frost and look for slug damage.

All this advise may have come too late – the rockery may already be over-run by weeds and it is covered with straggly rampant alpines due to past neglect. There is no easy answer. You will have to start again. Remove the soil from affected area, replace it with new planting mixture and then replant.

Weeding Your Garden:
Weeding your garden is one of the most tedious of all maintenance jobs, and prevention is so much easier than cure. Begin at construction time, make sure that the planting site is free from all perennial weeds and that weed roots are absent from the topsoil used for making the planting mixture. As described below, a mulch of grit on rockery and raised bed gardens or bark on peat gardens will help to prevent weeds.

It is unfortunate that however careful you are at the construction stage, weeds will still appear and they must be tackled promptly as dwarf plants such as alpines can easily be swamped by them. There are a number of sources of these weeds, and you can cut down the work of weeding if you take preventive measures. Firstly, weeds are often brought in with the plants, always check carefully and pull out stems and roots of any weeds which are growing on the soil surface of the pot.

Next, perennials can creep n from surrounding land so try to create some form of weed-proof barrier if this is likely. Finally, weed seeds are blown on to the site – remember that this includes the seed from nearby rock garden plants which readily produce self-sown seedlings. Dead-heading and weed control in surrounding land will reduce this problem.

Hoeing is not practical where a grit mulch is used. Pulling out weeds by hand is the usual way to tackle the problem, you may need to trowel if the roots are firmly anchored. Of course not all self-sewn alpines are weeds, you will only need to pull out seedlings which are growing where they are not wanted. Perennial weeds are a difficult problem when the roots are too deep and widespread to be removed. The answer here is to paint the leaves very carefully with glyphsate – never spray weed killers ans never use lawn-type ones.

General Garden Maintenance Tips for the Autumn Months

During the autumn months, there are some basic garden care tips that you need to keep in mind. These tips are designed to help you have the most beautiful garden and lawn possible. So grab your garden blower and let’s begin the process. Just keep in mind to never walk on your grass if there is a frost on it.

The first thing you will want to do is remove dead plants from the garden. These are the plants that thrived in the warmer summer months and are now withered on the ground. By removing these plants the overall appearance of your yard will greatly improve. During the removal process, you may also choose to plant new flowers and vegetables in your garden. You should ensure these new additions are freeze resistant and plan on having a covering for them at night.

When you have the garden free from dead plants, you will then need to grab the garden blower and remove all the leaves. This will be something you should do on a weekly basis, as the trees will continue to lose their leaves for a few months. When they are done, you can then put the garden blower away for a few months.

Next, move your grass to remove the buildup that is beneath it. Carefully go in a straight pattern and don’t worry about getting the lawn too short, right now you are preparing to do some seeding and fertilizing that will prove to be important down the road.

When this is done, take a few moments to use a lawn rake to clean up the area. Take your garden blower to it one more time just to ensure there was nothing left behind as well. Then starting from the edge of your lawn, then working backwards fertilize your lawn. As you do this process, be sure you have an even coating across the entire area. When you are done, make sure you do a full watering to ensure that the area remains moist. In about a week, you will want to reseed your entire lawn paying close attention to any bare or yellow patches that might turn up after you have done the fertilizing process.

After you have setup your entire yard and have prepared it for the cooler months, be sure that you follow the next piece of garden care advice. You will need to take your sprinkler system and wrap it well. Any watering that you might need to do in the winter months should be done by hand with a detachable hose. This will help you to prevent freezing and having a sprinkler system that can cause your problems next year.

Something to keep in mind during this entire process is some plants can’t tolerate the cold well. If you are expecting a freeze at anytime, be sure that you cover weaker plants with a warm blanket or plant cover. This way, you keep them looking great for the next season.

General Garden Maintenance – Watering

A successful garden is the result of many factors, one of the most important of which is adequate water. It is essential that you know how much water to give your plants and vegetables, striking a balance that will benefit the entire garden. Early morning watering is best for an established garden. If plants wilt, be sure to check the soil and narrow down the problems before watering.

There are several different ways in which to water a garden, from a watering can to a hose, to a hand sprayer to irrigation hoses and sprinkler systems. No matter which you decide to use, you need to know your plants and how much water they need and tolerate for optimal growth. Over-and under watering can be devastating to your garden, though it is often difficult to tell which one is the problem because they cause the same result: root rot. One such sign of either is wilted leaves.

Transplants and newly sown seeds need to be kept constantly moist for the first few weeks, so water your freshly planted garden lightly every time the surface is dry, or twice a day in hot weather. It’s preferable to water early in the morning, and then in the early evening, following the hottest part of the day.

Seedlings should emerge from the ground in a week or two. If the weather is cool, it may take a bit longer. Transplants take a while to recover once they have been planted. You will know they are doing fine when you see them start to grow, usually within one to two weeks.

Once your garden is established, water in the early morning hours, though, try to avoid sprayers because you don’t want to scorch leaves as the sun warms. Irrigation hoses or watering from below is the best bet and will not only prevent many fungal disease problems, but will also encourage deep roots, which will make your plants more hardy and less likely to suffer when deprived of water.

If a plant starts to wilt, don’t assume that it is drooping because it needs water. Check the soil first. Plants can wilt for a variety of reasons. You may do more harm than good if you water first and then try to narrow down problems later.

Water is the most important factor in a successful garden. It is essential that you know how much water to give your plants and vegetables. Once your garden is established, water in the early morning hours. Do not assume that a plant is drooping because it needs water. Check the soil and narrow down problems before you water.

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