April can still remain a bit challenging in terms of weather, however don’t let that stop you getting outside and enjoying the garden. As the it warms up, there are plenty of jobs to keep you busy in the garden this month. Give your garden a bit of love and attention now, and you’ll have all summer to enjoy your efforts. Here’s our top April gardening tips.
Top gardening tips for April
- Keep weeds under control by regular hoeing and mulching troublesome areas within the garden. This is a great job for the whole family to get involved with!
- Prepare your soil for planting by clearing weeds out of beds and digging in well-rotted stable manure or mixing on a compost. Preparing your soil improves soil structure and drainage, helping your plants cope better with both wet and dry summer weather.
- Feed hungry trees, shrubs and roses with a balanced slow-release fertilizer, scattering it on the soil and forking in lightly. This will aid their flower growth for strong and healthy blooms over the next few months.
- Give your lawn a high-nitrogen feed and aerate compacted areas by spiking them with a fork. Re-cut wobbly lawn edges to give your garden a fresh, crisp look. Now’s also the best time to sow lawn seed and repair bare patches. Did you know your lawn looses 25% every year?
- Tie in climbing and rambling roses, bending stems to lie as horizontally as possible to encourage them to flower all along their length. Tie in new honeysuckle and clematis shoots as well.
- Put supports for tall perennials in now, while the plants are small and it’s still easy to work around them. This also lets you train the plants through the supports as they grow.
- Lift and divide perennials and ornamental grasses, rejuvenating them and giving you more plants. April’s also an excellent time to plant new perennials and shrubs.
- Prune penstemons this month. If there’s new growth showing at the base, cut just above this growth, otherwise cut above the lowest new shoots. Prune forsythia once it finishes flowering, cutting back to vigorous young shoots. Trim lavender and winter-flowering heathers to stop them getting leggy, taking care not to cut into old wood when pruning lavender.
- Deadhead spring flowers such as daffodils and tulips, but leave the leaves to die back naturally, feeding the bulbs for next year’s flowers.
- As the soil warms up, sow hardy annuals like herbs and wild flowers like cornflowers and poppies outdoors for fabulous summer colour. In the greenhouse, sow tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins in small pots for planting out in June.
- Sow seed outdoors for beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard, summer cauliflower, kohl rabi, lettuce, leeks, radish, turnip, spring and pickling onions, peas and perpetual spinach in well-prepared soil.
- Plant potatoes in the ground, grow bags or containers. Make sure you chit them first! April is also a great month to plant onion and shallot sets too.
- Tackle pests and disease early. Protect young seedlings against slugs and snails with grit barriers, copper tape or pellets. Wipe aphids off rose leaves to stop infestations developing, and spray roses with fungicide against blackspot.
- Protect fruit blossom from late frosts by covering trees with horticultural fleece. It’s also a great time to plant pot growing fruit trees and bushes. If you have a small garden many of these can be planted into containers.
- Water houseplants more frequently as the weather warms up.
Be Creative this April
The HTA’s ‘Gardening is good for you’ campaign is all about encouraging everyone to be creative in April – plan the colour of your outdoor space as you would your interior by considering the colour of fences, walls, structures and landscaping materials as well as pots, ornaments, furniture and other features to combine with your favourite plants and flowers.
To visit the HTA’s April, ‘Be creative with colour’ page click HERE.