It’s prime-time in the gar­den, and the sunny weather means a growth spurt. Gerry Daly has your to-do list.

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Property - - SUNDAY PROPERTY -


Plant out ten­der veg­eta­bles, such as sweet­corn, run­ner beans, cour­gettes, squash and pumpkins, in a spell of warm weather, ide­ally over­cast.

Con­tinue to sow veg­eta­bles such as lettuce, radish, car­rots, peas, French beans, cauliflower and pars­ley.

Sow seeds of win­ter cab­bage and cauliflower, and de­li­cious pur­ple-sprout­ing broccoli for spring, to have plants ready for plant­ing in about six weeks.

Watch for green­fly on ap­ple trees, but do not spray un­less nat­u­ral preda­tors and par­a­sites have lost the battle — and wait un­til the petals fall.

If the pres­ence of codling moth grubs in ap­ples has been a prob­lem in re­cent years, spray with a cater­pil­lar spray at the end of flow­er­ing and again two weeks later.

Straw­ber­ries may need net­ting against bird dam­age and slugs can be ac­tive in damp weather, es­pe­cially if there are weeds present.

If there are long spells of wet weather, es­pe­cially in warm con­di­tions, ap­ple and pear trees may need spray­ing against scab dis­ease, if the dis­ease has af­fected the fruit in re­cent years.


If it is nec­es­sary to re­duce the size of shrubs be­cause they are get­ting too big, prune them when they have gone out of flower, and this can in­clude shrubs such as camel­lia and pieris.

Check that young trees and shrubs are se­curely staked, if nec­es­sary, and have not run short of wa­ter. They are not out of dan­ger un­til they have made some new growth at the branch tips, and can strug­gle to get es­tab­lished all sum­mer.

Check Ja­panese maples for green­flies on the young shoots, and also chest­nut scale on the branches, and con­trol these with a gar­den in­sec­ti­cide if large num­bers are present, as both can cause se­vere dieback of branches.


Plant out sum­mer bed­ding plants and plant up pots and other con­tain­ers, ex­cept in the colder in­land ar­eas.

Watch for slug and snail dam­age im­me­di­ately af­ter plant­ing out, and wa­ter short­age.

At 10 days to two weeks af­ter plant­ing out bed­ding, hoe the ground to knock out weed seedlings be­fore they take hold, and hoe lightly ev­ery week or so un­til the flower plants are well grown.

In flower beds and bor­ders with peren­nial flow­ers, care­fully go through and re­move any weeds. How­ever, the plants will soon shade over seedling weeds and keep them down.


Mow the grass reg­u­larly dur­ing this pe­riod of rapid growth, a time when the grasses an­nu­ally push out their flower stems.

It is es­sen­tial to keep ahead of grass growth to have a good qual­ity dense lawn of green grass. If too much growth is al­lowed be­fore mow­ing, the lawn will look very pale and un­even when it is cut.

Poor growth in­di­cates that feed­ing with high-ni­tro­gen lawn fer­tiliser is needed and this re­places nu­tri­ents taken away in mow­ings. Do not feed a wild-flower lawn.

Con­trol weeds be­fore they get too ad­vanced by us­ing lawn weed­killer in a set­tled spell of good weather. If you want wild­flow­ers, do not use weed­killer.


Pot up some bed­ding plants, such as busy lizzies, be­go­nias and petu­nias for green­house dis­play. Pe­largo­ni­ums are ex­cel­lent in pots, tol­er­at­ing drought very well.

Re­move ex­cess shoots of a grapevine ev­ery cou­ple of weeks to keep it un­der con­trol, and tie in new shoots that are needed for ex­ten­sion growth.

Plant out tomato, chilli and sweet pep­pers in a green­house, if not al­ready done. Grow them on strongly with plenty of wa­ter­ing and feed­ing.

If a peach tree in a green­house has set too many fruits, it will not be able to swell them and all the fruit may be of poor flavour. One peach for each 15cm of branch length is plenty, av­er­aged out over the whole tree.

Wa­ter all house plants reg­u­larly and feed ev­ery two weeks or so. Check for pests such as scale in­sects and red spi­der mites.

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