Gardening: Alan Titchmarsh shares how to ‘maintain’ garden borders – ‘it’s quite fun’

Alan Titchmarsh provides advice on removing weeds in 2016

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Alan Titchmarsh, known for presenting Love Your Garden and Gardeners’ World, has offered avid gardeners advice on how to maintain their gardens. Speaking on a gardening YouTube video, the expert shared his tips and tricks on how to get the garden summer ready.

Garden borders need to be maintained in order for them to stay looking pristine.

Even borders that have been recently planted will need reviewing and revitalising.

However, with some planning and preparation, they shouldn’t need too much maintenance year-to-year.

Alan Titchmarsh said: “So you spent the winter planning your borders, come the spring you’ve planted them up.

“Summers arrived and they seem to be going berserk…what you’ve got to do with your borders is maintain them…we call it gardening and it’s quite fun.”

The expert shared the three things gardeners need to do in order to maintain their borders.

He said: “Pruning and deadheading, supporting and staking, weeding…wedding…wedding.”

Pruning is when you selectively remove branches from a tree or remove petals from a flower.

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The goal is to remove any unwanted or dead branches, leaves or petals to improve the structure and encourage healthy growth.

When it comes to pruning, Alan advised gardeners to know when their shrubs flower.

He said: “If it blooms in early spring, it has flowered on wood that’s grown last year and it’s this older wood that you need to take out now.”

For summer flowering shrubs, Alan recommended cutting them in February and March.

The expert added: “If you’ve missed the right time just look for unhealthy stems damaged or diseased and cut these away and catch the right time next year.”

Some border plants are sturdy and self-supporting, but others need some support in order to look great.

Alan recommended using supports where the plant grows up the centre.

This can also help to keep the shrubs from slugs and snails.

The next step is to weed the borders.

Weeding is necessary because weeds compete with the main crop for water, sunlight and nutrients as well as space.

Some weeds can also release chemicals that are harmful to surrounding plants.

Alan said: “Now, once your border plants are fattened up and covered the ground, there’s hardly any room for weeds to grow, but until they have, you’ve got to keep that bare soil clean and a little hole like this skimmed across the surface will chop up and you’ll weeds will separate the roots on the chute and they’ll fry in the sun.”

He added: “It’s not nearly as boring as you might think.”

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) also recommended removing as many weed roots as possible by forking.

The website reads: “Remove as many roots by forking as possible. Pernicious problems such as ground elder, bindweed and creeping buttercup may require chemical control.

“Prepare the border for plantain and leave until spring or when regrowth appears. Fork through to remove further roots or spry the foliage with a glyphosate-based herbicide such as Roundup.

“Only when there has been a period of several weeks during growing season (March-September) with no weed growth can replanting begin.”

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