In April, things really get going in the garden! Each day you'll begin to notice more buds and sprouts, as spring blossom covers the branches of Magnolia, Cherry, Hawthorn and Goat Willow, just to name a few!
In the garden this month, it's time to plant one of our favourites, Dahlias
! Other garden tasks for April include potting, planting shrubs and prepping the lawn and greenhouse.
Caring for Bulbs in April
Remove dead flower heads from bulbs and feed with a tomato liquid feed to build up the bulbs' strength for next year. Don’t be in too much of a hurry to cut the leaves off; bulbs need 12 weeks after flowering to “fatten up” for next year.
Lift, divide and replant clumps of overcrowded bulbs. Try to avoid damaging the roots as much as you can.
tubers can be planted out now. If they have soft shoots on top, they will need frost protection.
Time to plant in pots and borders
- Mulch winter-flowering heathers with ericaceous compost (which has a low pH). After flowering, trim the dead heads off with shears. This will keep the plants compact.
In the Greenhouse
You can now remove the bubble polythene double glazing from your greenhouse, clean the glass and check that the ventilators work. Get ready to apply a coat of greenhouse shading to the outside to keep the temperature under control.
Consider buying a cold frame to ease the strain on space in your greenhouse at this time of year. This is ideal for hardening plants off before planting them outside.
- You can sow new lawns now, and you can patch up thin ones with more seed. Be prepared to take time preparing a good seedbed; it pays in the long run. Sow hard wearing rye, grass-based mixtures for lawns used by children and pets and fescue and bent grass-based mixes for the best looking lawn. Buy and lay turf if you are in a hurry to get a quick result.
Caring for Trees and Shrubs in April
Cut the old flowers off Mahonias
. If you cut a little of the stem, then it may encourage more branching. Varieties that regularly produce lovely blue berries, such as Mahonia aquifolium
, should not be pruned and will be gobbled up by blackbirds!
Browse tools on Candide to get stuck in with garden maintenance this month!
Other bits and pieces to do this month:
Keep an eye on the weather forecast for frost
Caring for exotic garden plants
Now the weather is warming up, you can remove winter protection from tender and exotic plants such as bananas
, ginger and tree ferns.
Pond care and bog plants
Add a net filled with clean barley straw to ponds where the water has become green. This usually does the trick to restore the imbalance of nutrients that fill the water in the spring.
Begin to clean out pond filters regularly.
Divide over-crowded aquatic plants. Replant the youngest sections in plastic net pots filled with peat-free compost and lined with a hessian liner. They will quickly recover and establish themselves again.
Soils, mulching and weed control
When the soil surface is dry, hoe it with a Dutch (push) hoe to kill off any small germinating weeds that will be appearing this month.
Pull up weeds that begin to sprout between paving slaps. Or pour over boiling water left over from the kettle or cooking, which also serve as good weed control. Make sure the boiling water is poured directly over the plants you want to target.
The indoor garden
- If you've got seedlings and other young plants on windowsills waiting to go outside, you should turn them around at least once a day. Regular rotation will aid strong, equal growth and avoid weak stems.
- You can now step up the frequency of watering and liquid feeding. Never be afraid to knock the pot off to see just how dry the compost is before routinely watering.
Gardening with wildlife and pets
If cats are coming into your garden to use your newly tilled soil as a toilet, try a sonic pest control system to keep them out. It's harmless but emits a frequency that we can't hear, but cats dislike.
If you're suffering from pest infestations, natural predators can be used to combat pests. You can order them online and from retailers and have them sent to your door. These predators are very host-specific but have exacting temperature and moisture conditions for them to be most effective. For this reason, ensure instructions are read carefully before purchasing.