Carrying Out Rock Garden Maintenance.

By: Gambo Navi

When you have made a rock garden or a raised bed by observing the fundamental rules, then routine maintenance should be a simple job. It will not call for as much skill as required in the pruning of fruit trees nor the heavy work demanded in the vegetable plot. You shouldn't be troubled by weeds for quite some time and your plants will thrive in your well drained, gritty conditions that you have provided for them. But regular maintenance is absolutely not something you can pay no heed to. 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 through the growing season, in the same way as you may treat house plant and lawn maintenance. Weed control will be the main task. Keep your garden free from dead plants and debris, and water only when essential. Dead-head spent flowers where practical, particularly if the variety of plant can become a nuisance by self seeding. Label plants which die down for part of the year.

Autumn is the main overhaul time of your gardening year. All fallen leaves need to be removed and your stems of rampant plants require to be cut back. Donot 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 search for slug damage.

All this advise may have arrived too late for you - the rockery may already have been over-run by weeds and it is covered with straggly rampant alpines because of past neglect. There is not an easy answer. You will probably be required to start again. Remove the soil from the 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 a whole lot easier than cure. Start at construction time, make certain that the planting site is free from all perennial weeds and that all weed roots have been removed from your 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 avoid weeds.

It really is unfortunate that however careful you are at the construction stage, weeds still appear and so they have to be tackled promptly as dwarf plants such as alpines can easily be swamped by them. You have a variety of sources of these weeds, and it is possible to cut down the task of weeding if you take precautionary measures. Firstly, weeds are often brought in with the plants that you buy, always check carefully and pull out stems and roots of any weeds which are growing on the soil surface of your pot.

Next, perennials can creep in from surrounding land so try to make some type of weed-proof barrier if this is likely. Finally, weed seeds are often blown in to your 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 should reduce this predicament.

Hoeing will not be practical where a grit mulch is used. Pulling out weeds manually is the usual technique to tackle the situation, you might want to trowel if the roots are firmly anchored. Obviously, 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 get removed. The answer here is to paint the leaves very carefully with glyphsate - never spray weed killers and never use lawn-type ones.

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A fantastic amount of my time is spent in my garden, but as I am getting older and things are becoming harder to do. I have decided to use a company called Landscape Gardener London. Up to now they have given me all the help and advice that I have asked for. I still do a bit of pottering around my own garden.

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