Gardening Jobs for April
April has arrived and it’s time to get your spring garden plants off to a great start. Whether you need tips for your lawn, flowers, trees, shrubs, kitchen garden – you name it, we’ve got it covered in our list of gardening jobs for April.
What to Do in the Garden in April – Key Jobs
Getting all the key gardening jobs done this month will make sure your spring plants and flowers thrive. There are lots of areas you need to consider, including how to tend specific bulbs, or how exactly to prune certain plants for the best displays in summer.
Let’s start with one of the biggest areas: your lawn.
Prep Your Lawn
Get the ground ready for creating a new lawn from seed. First, rake the soil level and get rid of any stones. Then sow the lawn seed and rake it gently into the surface. Give it a good watering and cover with netting to protect from hungry birds.
If your lawn’s already established, give it a new lease of life. Remove thatch (a build-up of dead grass) by going over it with a lawn rake and then apply a spring lawn feed to aid growth. Neaten up messy edges with a half-moon tool and a piece of wood as a cutting guide. Try to leave a vertical edge, 7.5cm deep.
Which Plants and Flowers Should you Prioritise in April?
Different plants and flowers need different care, and of course some need more TLC than others this month. Here are all the gardening tips you need for those that need prioritising in April.
Remove the heads of daffodils (known as ‘deadheading’) to preserve their energy for future blooms. The bulbs will otherwise direct their energy into creating seeds. Leave the foliage till it goes brown.
Plant alstroemeria, lilies, eucomis, gladioli and other summer flowering bulbs.
Beds and Borders
If there’s some bare space in your garden that you want to fill quickly, give hardy annuals a try. Cerinthe, scrambled eggplant, quaking grass, Californian poppy and love-in-a-mist can all be sown directly into well-prepared soil. In several weeks, this patch will be bursting with colour that’ll brighten your garden until autumn.
Look out for red lily beetles. While deceptively pretty, these pests will munch through flowers, leaves and buds of lilies and fritillaries. Know what to look for: fully grown red lily beetles are shiny scarlet, and their larvae are covered in a black, jelly-like substance. Check your plants often and squash any you come across underfoot.
Thin out herbaceous perennials that have grown into congested clumps. Use a fork to ease out from the earth and separate into multiple smaller bunches – if doing this by hand proves difficult due to the strong roots, a spade will help. Replant and water well.
Mulch beds and borders with compost, leafmould, composted bark or other materials to trap moisture in and stop weeds from shooting up.
Plants in Pots
Help pansies, violas, daisies and other spring bedding plants last longer by removing fading blooms.
Give your plants protection from root-guzzling vine weevil grubs by soaking compost with a Vine Weevil Killer.
Pinch out any growing tips of bedding plants using a finger and thumb to bring on fuller growth.
Trees and Shrubs
Check tree ties aren’t getting too tight. If they are, loosen them to stop them cutting into the bark as the stem grows bigger.
Give shrubs a helping hand by sprinkling a general fertiliser over the earth – chicken manure pellets would do the job well.
Get rid of pure green branches from variegated shrubs, like elaeagnus, privet and euonymus – snip them all the way back to the main stem with some good quality pruners.
Damage from frost on vulnerable plants doesn’t look good, so use some secateurs on any areas that need pruning, cutting back to healthy growth. If you live in a particularly cold part of the UK or your garden is quite exposed, do this next month instead to give potential cold snaps time to pass.
Encourage azaleas and rhododendrons to look their best by pinching off fading flower heads above a new set of leaves.
Frequently water any trees and shrubs that have been planted recently to give them the best chance of thriving – most importantly during hot, dry spells.
Prevent forsythia shrubs from becoming overgrown and encourage great flowering next year, by pruning when the flowers begin to fade. Cut back about a third of old stems to slightly above ground level.
Help roses thrive by scattering a general-purpose or specialist rose fertiliser around them. Then mulch with well-rotted farmyard manure – apply a 5cm layer over the soil, making sure to avoid any gaps between the manure and rose stems.
In the Kitchen Garden
Sow chilli peppers undercover in 7.5cm pots filled with seed compost. Beetroot, cabbage, carrots, cauliflowers and sprouting broccoli can be sown outside. Dig over the earth before sowing, making sure all weeds and large stones are removed and that the soil has a fine finish, resembling breadcrumbs.
Get rid of black fly and other sap-sucking bugs tucking into your veg with a pest control spray.
Plant well-rooted strawberry runners in growing bags, pots or in a sunny area outdoors. You may need to have some fleece on hand to protect the flowers at night if frosts are coming up.
Protect newly planted carrots from carrot root fly by surrounding crops with a 42cm high fine mesh barrier or by covering with fleece.
Once you’ve completed all these gardening jobs for April, your spring plants and flowers will be well prepared for the spring and summer. Remember, you can always browse our garden range if you’re missing any equipment or fancy adding some new live plants.
Then simply sit back and enjoy your flourishing plot till next month!