Your garden really starts to come exuberantly to life in April with warmer, sunnier days and the ideal time to get ahead with sowing and planting. It’s an exciting month with plants already starting to bloom, indoor-sown seeds well into their growth, and time to start sowing and planting outdoors. Give your garden a bit of love and attention now, and you’ll have all summer to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Here are our top tips for April:
Start preparing your seed beds by removing any weeds and stones from the soil. The soil needs to be fertile and healthy so digging in a nutrient rich compost will get your plants off to a good start.
Before planting your seedling plants outside, they will need to be “hardened off” which simply means exposing your plants to outdoor conditions for a portion of the day, to get them acclimatised to the weather. If you haven't already sown sweet peas now is your last chance.
April is also prime bedding season and the perfect time to start planning and planting up your pots for a beautiful display this summer. Pansies, violas, geraniums, petunias and marigolds adding instant colour to your containers, hanging baskets or borders.
Plant dahlias, lilies and begonias now if frost has passed. Larger containers such as tubs are ideal for growing climbers, shrubs such as azalea and hebes, or even small trees to bring structure, texture and colour to your garden.
Mow lawns when necessary and when the weather is dry but keep your mower blades relatively high for the first few cuts of the season. After mowing, allow a few days for your lawn to recover and then cut again with the blades on a lower setting. We recommend to cut about once a fortnight during this month.
Your lawn will also need some TLC after the wet winter months and may be overrun with moss and weeds. Weeds can be a problem in lawns, so make sure they are removed as they compete with the healthy grass for nutrients and moisture. The best way to remove weeds and moss from your lawn is to use a fertiliser, and then remove with a lawn scarifying rake.
After scarifying, use a lawn feed to encourage strong new, dark green growth, ready for the increased use over the summer.
Grow your own
The potatoes you have been chitting can now go into the ground. Plant second early Potatoes at the beginning of April and main crop varieties at the end of the month. Strawberry plants and raspberry canes can go into the ground also.
Seed sowing begins in earnest with leeks, tomatoes, squash, courgettes, cucumber broad beans, beetroot, lettuce, parsnips, peas, mangetout and spinach now able to be sown indoors for a bumper crop later in the year.
Dead head spring bulbs after flowering has finished but do not cut down the foliage of tie it up, it should be left to die down naturally. Prune back late flowering shrubs like buddleia, clematis, lavender and rosemary.
Put supports for tall perennials in now, while the plants are small so they can be trained as they grow.
Spray existing roses for black spot and mulch well below the plants to prevent any problems later on in the summer. Start to spray Apples and Pears to deter pests and diseases.
Hedges will now need to be trimmed as well as fed, a mulch around their base would be beneficial to keep them thriving throughout the coming months. Now’s also the time to hard prune dogwoods to encourage next winter’s display of brightly coloured stems.
If the weather is dry paint wooden fences, sheds and pergolas with a wood preservative and remove algae from paths and patios using a brush or a pressure washer.