April In The Garden By Jill Blackwood
Garden Tips For April
By Jill Blackwood
- Weed growth will be speeding up, applying a thick layer of mulch on borders will help to stop perennial weeds growing – any stubborn weeds can be treated with an easy to apply weed killer like roundup, taking care not to spray nearby plants. Regularly weeding borders will gradually reduce the amount of weeds that grow back each year.
- Keep an eye out for slugs and snails as they will also be raring to go and can destroy emerging plants overnight. Treat areas with wildlife and pet friendly slug pellets.
- Spray roses with a suitable treatment for black spot and remove any leaves that look sickly.
- Towards the end of April start to clear spring bedding as it fades to make room for summer displays. Don’t be tempted to plant summer bedding too soon as frosts are still possible until the second week of May. If you have a greenhouse, hanging baskets and pots can be planted up ready to take out into the garden when all danger of frost has passed.
- Remove faded blooms from spring bulbs but leave the rest of the plant to die back naturally to allow the bulb to store energy for next year’s flowers.
- Prune early flowering shrubs like Forsythia, Daphne, Sarcococca and Chaenomeles.
- Plant summer flowering bulbs such as Lilies, Gladioli and Dahlia, summer bulbs add a lovely splash of colour and are easy to grow.
- Gaps in borders or new borders can planted with perennials, always try to plant in groups of three or more for greater impact and make sure colour and form are going to look good next to each other.
- A low cost way of filling borders is to sow hardy annual seed. Prepare the soil by digging over and raking. Sow seeds in colour drifts before covering with a fine thin layer of soil and watering in. Try to remove any weeds that sneak in to the mix to give seedlings the best chance.
- Plant out sweet peas sown earlier making sure they have something to climb up such as a bamboo wigwam or some trellis.
- Perennials that have become congested or too big for their space can be split. Simply lift the plant, detach clumps from the outside and replant discarding the centre.
- All tall growing perennials will need staking and tying in as they grow to keep them growing upright and tidy and to prevent any damage during strong winds which can still occur in April and May and there is nothing worse than seeing all your Delphiniums flattened.
- Start to mow the lawn weekly and to tidy the appearance of you garden redefine the lawn with a sharp lawn edger. Lawns can also be given a dose of lawn feed, weed and moss killer following manufacturers instructions.
- Any paved or decked areas should be brushed over with a stiff broom and washed down to brighten them up and get rid of any algae that may have built up over the winter.
- In the vegetable garden main crop potatoes can be planted in ground that has be dug over and enriched with organic matter. Vegetable seeds that be sown directly into prepared ground now include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels, sweet corn, courgettes, pumpkin, leeks along with salad crops like lettuce and spring onions. Also sow herbs to compliment your summer cooking. In the greenhouse sow tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, these can be either grown on in the greenhouse or planted outside in late May. Keep an eye out for pests and treat early before the greenhouse becomes infested. Open windows on warm days before closing at night and shade young plants to prevent scorching.