April jobs and tips for your garden

 

Spring is finally in evidence as daffodils and flowering trees start to bloom. Expect the inevitable April showers this month but with sunny days too, when you can turn your attention to the lawn. It's an exciting month, with indoor-sown seeds well into growth, and it's also time to start sowing outdoors. Just watch out for frosts...

 

General:

• Check your compost bins to see if there is any compost ready to use.

 

• Improve the drainage of heavy soils by incorporating plenty of organic matter.

 

• Top-dress containers with fresh compost. If containers are full, remove the top 5cm of old compost and

replace with new.

 

• Keep on top of weeding now the weather is warming up. Run a hoe through beds and borders. Apply weed

killer to perennial weeds in paving and patios.

 

• Look out for signs of pests and diseases, early prevention is easier than curing an infestation.

 

• Remove dirt from your paths and paving before summer arrives. Use a pressure washer or special patio

cleaner.

 

• Make sure bird baths and bird feeders are kept topped up to encourage birds to your garden.

 

• Use a diary to keep track of which seeds you are sowing and when they were sown and planted out - it really

helps later in the year.

 

• Keep an eye on your houseplants - the warmer weather and longer light hours will encourage them to grow

and they may require more water.

 

• If you've run out of space on your windowsills or just want to take away the hassle of sowing seed, consider

buying vegetable plug plants.

 

• Early sowings outside may prove difficult due to the cold and wet soil at this time, therefore, by warming up

the soil of prepared areas with cloches it will protect from frost and rain.

 

• It is ideal to leave the cloches in place for at least two or three weeks when the soil can be raked prior to

seed sowing and planting out of young seedlings. Replace the cloches giving the young plants a good start.

 

• Keep an eye out for slugs and snails with the use of slug pellets if needed, of course, following directions on

box.

 

Lawn Care: 

• Rake out any dead moss with a scarifier and then fork over to improve drainage.

 

• Apply lawn fertiliser.

 

• Dig out any perennial weeds.

 

• April is a great time for sowing new lawns and repairing bare patches. Sow lawn seed now on well prepared

soil and keep the soil moist whilst the seed is germinating.

 

• For an instant lawn, lay new turf now and ensure it is kept moist until established.

 

• Apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn now for a boost to the start of the season.

 

• Now is a good time to apply specialist lawn weed killers to your lawn where moss and weeds are a problem.

 

• On dry days, brush away any worm casts on the lawn.

 

• Mow your lawn more regularly as required, mower blades can be lowered towards the end of the month.

 

• Recut lawn edges to straighten them up. Try installing lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.

 

• Aerate compacted areas of lawn by spiking it with a garden fork.

 

Flowers and Bulbs:

• Divide bamboos and waterlilies.

 

• Sow hardy annuals, herbs and wild flower seed outdoors.

 

• Tie in climbing and rambling roses.

 

• Feed hungry shrubs and roses.

 

• Plant out your autumn sown Sweet Pea seedlings or sow now direct in their final flowering position.

 

• Dependant on the variety hardy annuals can be sown either indoors or outdoors, following the instructions

on the packet. Have a browse through our range of flower seeds.

 

• Half-hardy flowers can be sown in trays and kept on a windowsill or in the greenhouse.

 

• This may be your last chance to order young flower plants as many will be delivered in May so have a look

at your garden plan and check for gaps.

 

• Hanging baskets can be planted up and kept in the greenhouse while the plants grow on.

 

• Plant lily bulbs now in pots! If you want to get ahead with your summer lily display, start planting now! You

can simply move them around the patio or into gaps in your borders as they come into flower! Use a good,

multi-purpose compost and half-fill a container at least 30cm (12”) in diameter and is sufficient for 3 bulbs.

Cover with more compost and water in. Once the plants begin to shoot, move them to a sunny position. Feed

with a liquid plant feed each week from the beginning of summer.

 

• Dig in a 5cm (or more) layer of compost or well-rotted manure into your beds to prepare for the growing

season. You can also work in a general purpose fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure or fish, blood and

bone.

 

• Apply a layer of mulch around your perennials, trees and shrubs before the hot weather arrives. Use organic

matter such as well rotted manure.

 

• Lift and divide perennial plants now to improve their vigour and create new plants for your garden.

 

• Divide Hostas before they come into leaf.

 

• Divide Primroses after they have finished flowering.

 

• Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as Lilies, Gladiolus and Ranunculus into beds, borders and containers.

 

• Roses are greedy plants and will greatly benefit from feeding as they come into growth.

 

• Continue to plant herbaceous perennials.

 

• Forced flower bulbs such as hyacinths and daffodils, which have now finished flowering, can be planted

outdoors in garden borders.

 

•Hardwood cuttings taken last year may need planting or potting on now.

 

• If any of your garden plants will need supporting this year, put the supports in now so the plants grow up

through them. Adding supports afterwards is difficult and may damage the plant.

 

• Tie in climbing and rambling roses to their supports

 

• Honeysuckle and Clematis will now be putting on growth, tie in new stems to train the plant along its support.

 

• Prune your Penstemons now - cut all the old shoots back to the base provided there is new growth at the

bottom of the plant. If there are no new shoots at the base, cut just above the lowest set of leaves.

 

• Prune Forsythia as soon as they have finished flowering, cutting back to strong young shoots.

 

• Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent the plants becoming leggy.

 

• Continue to remove any faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will

encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring.

 

• Deadhead daffodils and tulips as the flowers finish but leave the foliage intact allowing it to die back naturally

 

• Direct sow hardy annuals outside or in pots or modules.

 

• Check that your container plants are not drying out - warm weather will quickly affect soil moisture levels.

 

Trees and Shrubs:

• Apply a balanced slow release fertiliser to trees, shrubs and hedges.

 

• You can start to move evergreen shrubs and trees now provided the soil isn't frozen or waterlogged.

 

• Check any tree ties to make sure the tie is not cutting into the trunk. Loosen any that are tight to allow the

trunk room to expand.

 

• Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a balanced, slow-release fertiliser by lightly forking it into the soil

surface.

 

Fruit:

• Protect fruit blossom from late frosts.

 

• Start to feed citrus plants.

 

• Prune fig trees

 

• Mulch around trees with well-rotted manure.

 

• Keep an eye out for any pests and take corrective action.

 

• Apple trees, pear trees, plum trees and cherry trees will start flowering in April. If as few as 5 to 10% of the

flowers set then you will have a good crop so don’t worry too much about flowers dropping.

 

• If frost threatens then try to protect the flowers with fleece.

 

• Check tree ties to prevent rocking.

 

• In drying wind water all newly planted trees.

 

• Summer and autumn fruiting raspberries should be cut back to approximately 23cm from the base.

 

• To encourage early flowers cover strawberry plants with cloches.

 

• Plant out strawberry beds, making sure you enrich the soil first with plenty of well-rotted manure. Place

cloches over your strawberry plants for earlier crops.

 

• Protect your fruit blossom from late frosts by covering them with fleece on cold nights.

 

• Spray the emerging leaves of peach and nectarine trees to prevent peach leaf curl. Sheltering your plants

from the rain will also reduce the risk of peach leaf curl.

 

• Mulch fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost taking care not to mound mulch up around the

trunk. Top-dress patio dwarf fruit trees with fresh compost and a slow-release fertiliser.

 

• Apply a slow-release fertiliser around the base of your raspberry canes, fruit bushes and fruit trees to

encourage good crops this season.

 

• Try hand-pollinating your peaches and nectarines with a soft-bristled paint brush for better crops this year.

 

• If any rhubarb flowers appear then cut them out near the base as otherwise they will steal food and energy

from the plant.

 

Vegetables:

• Dig in a 5cm (or more) layer of compost, well-rotted manure or green waste into your beds to prepare for the

growing season.

 

• Growing potatoes in grow bags - top up compost as the plants grow

 

• Plant your chitted potatoes outside in the ground or in potato grow bags.

 

• Harvest asparagus spears when they are no more than 18cm tall.

 

• For quick and easy pea supports push some twiggy sticks around your pea plants now.

 

• Thin your carrot seedlings to achieve good-size carrots - do this in the evening when fewer carrot flies are

around.

 

• Many crops can be direct sown into the ground now including parsnips, radishes, carrots, peas, beetroot,

winter cabbages, broccoli, salad crops and much more.

 

• Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds and forking in plenty of compost. Cover prepared soil

with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for planting.

 

• Build raised beds to take the bending out of growing vegetables.

 

• Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins, squashes and tomatoes can all be sown in a heated greenhouse or

propagator.

 

• If frost threatens then pull some fleece over your potato foliage.

 

• Plant onion sets when the soil is dry.

 

• Make sure you’ve ordered your tomato plants.

 

• If your asparagus beds are at least 2-years old then any spears can be cut using a sharp knife or better still,

a made-for-purpose asparagus knife.

 

Herbs:

• Sowings can be made of dill, fennel, hyssop, parsley and thyme.

 

• Any sowings made in March may need careful thinning.

 

• If you have an established thyme plant then have a go at layering some creeping stems by covering them

with fine soil. Once they’ve rooted you can separate them and plant elsewhere. It won’t take long – thyme

waits for no man (sorry!).

what-to-do-in-the-garden-this-month-jobs-for-green