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April gardening tips

A garden in autumn colours

April’s gardening essentials

  1. Tip 1 The months of March, April and May are ideal for pruning evergreens. So if you have a Juniper, Cypress or conifer that needs shearing or pruning this is a good time to accomplish this task. Remove all dead, diseased, and undesirable wood. However, do not prune back into the bare wood part of the plant.
  2. Tip 2 April is the month for planting summer flowering bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas and lilies. Tuberous begonias and canna should not be set outdoors until all danger of frost has passed, so wait until next month.
  3. Tip 3 When all frost danger has passed you can move your stored fuchsias and geraniums outdoors. Trim them back, feed and re-pot if necessary. Water them well.
  4. Tip 4 When they have finished blooming, you should deadhead your spring flowering bulbs. Do not cut off the green foliage yet, these green leaves continue to grow for a few weeks, and provide the bulb with food for flowering next year.
  5. Tip 5 Plant new rosebushes before growth starts and buds swell.
  6. Tip 6 Control weeds and aerate the soil by cultivating between the rows of plants.
  7. Tip 7 Spring is also a good time to thatch and over-seed the lawn. Remove thatch with a brisk raking, or with a lawn rake or scarifier. Over seeding will help fill-in the lawn and deter the re-growth of moss and weeds.
  8. Tip 8 Aerating the lawn will allow water to penetrate deeper into the lawn soil and reduce the need to water during the dryer months ahead. Use a garden fork and punch holes over the surface of your lawn.
  9. Tip 9 Rotate your houseplants so that each side receives its share of light, for even growth and a balanced shape.
  10. Tip 10 Spring-cleaning your plants will keep them beautiful and help to avoid diseases. Remove any spent flowers, dead leaves or branches or any yellowing leaves.
  11. Tip 11 Pinching back the tips of foliage plants will stimulate new growth and make your plant fuller and bushier.

Week-by-week gardening tips for April

Week 1

  • Begin to harden off your plants and over wintered cuttings.
  • Remove the insulation from the greenhouse.
  • Apply spring fertilisers, weed killers and moss killers to established lawns.
  • Prune tender climbers and wall shrubs before leaves open fully.
  • Plant summer hanging baskets and window boxes but keep under cover till all danger of frost is past.
  • Plant herbs in containers.

Week 2

  • Apply slow-release fertiliser to containers and then mulch.
  • Cut back hardy fuchsias to just above soil level as strong new basal growth spears.
  • Start to sow hardy annuals directly into their flowering position.
  • Plant tomatoes to grow in a cool greenhouse: train them up tall canes or strings.
  • Sow melons and cucumbers under glass.
  • Prune winter-flowering heathers as the flowers fade.

Week 3

  • Mow the lawn weekly or more often in necessary: frequent mowing encourages dense growth.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as Acidanthera and Tigridia.
  • Weed patios, paths and drives.
  • Apply rose fertiliser, gently hoeing it in around the plants.
  • Ventilate cold frames and the greenhouse whenever possible to encourage sturdy plant growth.
  • Feed newly planted hedges.

Week 4

  • Clean out the pond if necessary.
  • Put new aquatic plants in the pond either in the soil at the bottom or using special aquatic baskets
  • Continue to plant vegetables directly into the ground and under glass for a succession of crops .
  • Fit collars around the stems of young cabbages, cauliflowers and Brussels sprouts to deter cabbage root fly.
  • Earth up early potatoes.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs over three years old as they finish flowering.