Garden tips for April
Spring is a busy time for you and your garden, our latest tips will help you get ready for the peak season.
Hoe borders to prevent annual and perennial weeds from spreading and seeding themselves.
Herbaceous perennials infested with couch grass and other perennial weeds should be lifted so the roots of the weeds can be removed.
Put supports in place for perennials before they get too large. Criss-crossing strings from hidden or decorative posts work well, allowing stems to grow up in the gaps between strings.
Apply a general-purpose fertiliser to borders and beds.
Feed roses with a bespoke rose fertiliser.
Avoid planting new roses in areas where roses were previously growing otherwise the new plants may suffer from rose replant disease.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses as near to horizontal as possible. This will restrict sap flow, causing more side-shoots to grow along the length of stem, and so producing more flowers.
Top dress spring-flowering alpines with grit or gravel to show off the plants and to help prevent stem rots.
Remove tired winter bedding and plants that did not survive the winter.
Deadhead pansies, primulas and other spring bedding plants. Pansies will carry on into the spring and even to early summer if attended to frequently.
Remove faded daffodil and tulip flowers, nipping off the heads and seedpods at the same time.
Continue to protect lilies, delphiniums, hostas and other new shoots from slugs and snails.
Winter-stemmed shrubs such as Salix and Cornus can still be cut back at the beginning of the month. Prune back hard all the previous year’s growth to within 1-2cm (0.5-0.75in) of the framework.
Lightly cut back lavenders to prevent them getting too leggy and woody.
Delay pruning spring-flowering shrubs such as Forsythia and Chaenomeles until after they have finished flowering, otherwise this year’s display will be lost.
Remove any frost damaged shoots from evergreens damaged by earlier cold weather.
Put rabbit guards around newly planted trees and shrubs to protect the bark
Mulch around fruit trees with well-rotted manure.
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.
If frost threatens then try to protect the flowers with fleece.
In drying wind water all newly planted trees.
Now is the time to sow direct carrots, peas, beetroot, winter cabbages, broccoli, and salad crops.
Plant onion sets when the soil is dry.
Mow lawns when necessary – whenever the grass is growing – the aim is to maintain a constant height throughout the year.
Repair bumps and hollows by peeling back the turf, removing or adding soil, and then replacing the turf.
Apply a high nitrogen spring lawn fertiliser at the beginning of the month to encourage good, strong growth.
If moss is a problem choose a combined fertiliser and moss killer. April is the best month to apply lawn weed killer.
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.
Plant chitted potato tubers this month, starting with first earlies through to main crops at the end of the month.
Sow vegetables including beetroot, carrots, lettuce, leeks, radish, turnip & spring onions.
Marrows, courgettes, pumpkins, squashes and tomatoes can all be sown in a heated greenhouse or propagator.
Prick out seedlings before they get too crowded, and then to pot them on as individual plants as soon as they are large enough.
Check if plants need watering at least every few days and seedlings will need daily attention.
Ensure birds are not nesting before trimming evergreen hedges.
Empty compost bins carefully in case hedgehogs or frogs are still hibernating.