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PLANT NOW AS IT'S ALL SYSTEMS GROW.

SPRING may be upon us but there is still time to plant trees and shrubs. And with the soil warming up they should get off to a good start - providing you prepare the planting sites thoroughly.

Digging a hole and jamming the plant into it simply will not do.

First, dig over the planting site and get out any weeds - especially those tough old perennials with long tap roots like docks and dandelions.

If the area is infested with bind-weed, nettles or ground elder pick out all the roots. In the case of bindweed go down as deep as possible.

Whatever the size of the plant the planting hole must be large enough for the roots to be spread with a little room to spare.

After digging out the hole, mix the excavated soil with plenty of well- rotted manure and compost and a generous handful or two of fertiliser.

Don't plant too deep. If the shrub or tree has been budded or grafted you can clearly see the join between the rootstock and the main plant. Just cover that point.

With bare-rooted plants only choose those that have a healthy root system. Reject any with roots that have been damaged by rough lifting.

It is very likely that you will be buying container-grown plants from a nursery or garden centre and the roots will tend to be congested in the pot. So take the plant out of the pot and soak it in a bucket of water until the compost is washed away and the roots are released.

Whatever the size of the plant make sure it is well firmed into the soil. If it gets rocked about by the wind, water will gather round the roots and stagnate, causing rotting.

But watering is very important in the early stages of planting. Make sure the plant is kept moist and, in the case of trees and shrubs, water regularly during its first season.

NO CUTTING CORNERS - OUR LONG POLE LOPPER'S A SNIP

THERE always seems to be something in the garden which needs cutting back but is just out of reach. That is when a long pole lopper comes into its own.

Sunday People readers can buy an Eckman Long Pole Lopper for just pounds 29.95, including packing and postage. It extends to seven feet and includes a fruit picker. It is made from rust- resistant PVC-coated steel and comes with a by-pass lopper, a pruning saw and a picking basket.

Send your order to: Sunday People Lopping Set Offer, Truebell House, Lombard Road, London SW19 3TZ. Make cheques and postal orders payable to: Mirror Group Newspapers SPG085, and please write your name and address in block capitals on the back. Or call the credit card order hotline on 0181- 540-9696 quoting: Sunday People Lopping Set Offer SPG085. Allow 28 days for delivery.

JOBS FOR

THE WEEK

PRUNE all the old wood out of acid cherries like Morellos.

PLANT new fruit trees and bushes before it is too late.

SOW celeriac, celery, outdoor tomatoes, chillies, sweet peppers and aubergines in a heated greenhouse or propagator.

IF the weather is warm enough and it is not too wet, sow broad beans, early peas, summer cabbages and Brussels sprouts outside.

PRUNING GRAPE VINES UNDER GLASS

Grapes under glass should ideally be pruned in the winter but if you didn't get round to it there is still time to do the job. Here's how...

1. Thoroughly ventilate the glass house to hold back early growth.

2. Cut out all unwanted and diseased growth with secateurs.

3. Carefully but firmly tie in the necessary new supports.

4. Prune back last year's new wood to just two buds.

QA

Q: If I sow foxglove seeds now will they flower this year?

A: No. Foxgloves, like Canterbury bells, are biennials, which means they flower the year after they have been sown. But it is a good idea to sow them now anyway so that you can grow them on into really strong plants to be planted out in September where they are to flower next year.

Q: Is there any way I can prevent carrot fly wrecking my crop this year?

A: There are some chemical dressings which are supposed to help, or you can put up a two-foot high plastic sheeting barricade round the crop. But the simplest way of all is to cover your carrot rows with garden fleece. It will not inhibit the crowth of the carrots but it will keep out the carrot fly.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Lyte, Charles
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 8, 1998
Words:754
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