Gardening Jobs for April

With everything going on in the country at the moment it is good to focus on a few positives for our own mental wellbeing. Take a look outside your window, spring has finally arrived. The daffodils are still looking glorious, the tulips are starting to flower, the leaves are starting to appear on the hawthorns and willows, herbaceous perennials are starting to push through in the borders and the grass is starting to shake off its depressing winter yellow colour. This is a wonderful, invigorating time of year for a gardener and now that the clocks have changed we also get an extra hour in the garden! Lots to do this month;

  • Plant evergreen trees and shrubs now that the soil is starting to warm up. It’s a good time to plant other flowering plants such as roses, climbers and herbaceous perennials.
  • If you haven’t pruned your roses by now, make sure you finish this month. It’s also a good idea to feed them with a granular rose fertiliser.
  • Hard prune the forsythia after flowering.
  • Start hoeing to keep weeds down between your plants. Take care not to cut the tops off hostas, lilies and other plants that have tender shoots.
  • Keep a look out for pests, especially slugs and snails if the weather turns wet and take speedy action. If you don’t want to use sprays then pick off as many as you can. Try using the organic slug pellet based on ferric phosphate. Keep an eye out for the dreaded lily beetle as the lilies start to push through. We are hoping that the cold weather has reduced their numbers.
  • Continue sowing selected vegetables outside such as carrots, radishes, beetroot, cabbages, Brussels sprouts and lettuce. Brussels and cabbages do better if they are sown in a seed bed first then transplanted into their final positions in May / June.
  • Plant second early potatoes (such as Maris Peer, International Kidney & Charlotte) from early to mid April (ready July/August) and main crop towards the end of the month (ready September/October). First early potatoes are usually planted late March but it doesn’t matter if they run into April
  • Sow pumpkins, squashes and tomatoes inside with protection. When it has warmed up in May and frost risk has gone then they can be planted outside.
  • Don’t be tempted to fill in the gaps in your borders just yet; some plants are still coming through.
  • Start your spring lawn treatments to keep them in tiptop condition. Continue to aerate, scarify, feed and weed. There are a number of all-in-one weed and feed granules available from your local DIY store or garden centre and it is worth using them. Lots are doing deliveries online ordering as for the moment we can’t physically travel to the the garden centre.
  • It is also a good time to start turfing or seeding new lawns.
Photo by Rodwell Harinangoni on Pexels.com
  • If you have winter bedding such as pansies continue to deadhead them to extend their flowering season, and keep containers and hanging baskets well watered. They should start to look their best from this month onwards.
  • Take basal root cuttings from things like delphiniums, dahlias, phlox and chrysanthemums. These are created from the little tiny shoots coming from the base of last years old stems. Try to remove from as near as possible to the main root and before they are 2 or 3 inches tall and root in nice sandy, gritty compost.
  • Take soft wood cuttings from fuchsias and geraniums.
  • Hoe in slow release fertiliser between your plants to get them going.
  • If you want dramatic leaves on some shrubs and are happy not to get the flowers you can cut back hard on catalpas, acer negundo and pawlonias.
  • Carefully remove dead and damaged fronds from ferns. Take care not to damage the new, unfurling fronds in the crown of the plant as they are very brittle.
  • Be patient with perennials that may look as though they have been killed by the frost such as salvias and verbenas. There is a good chance that they may re-shoot from below ground level.
  • Start watering your house plants regularly. Pop them in the bath and give them a blast with the shower head to get rid of dust and cobwebs. You will find that this will invigorate them and help them to photosynthesise properly.
  • It’s a good time to start planting summer flowering bulbs such as gladiolis, fresias, ixias, sparaxis and lilies.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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