The Garden in April
Tuesday, 2 Apr 2013 11:17 am
Summer is just around the corner (hopefully), making April one of the most exciting months of the year as the garden slowly starts to come to life again. Unfortunately so do the weeds!
Here are a few jobs around the garden
Clean, sharpen or repair the garden tools, book the lawn mower in for servicing and check garden furniture for any rot. When it’s warm enough, treat sheds, fences and trellis with a good quality preservative.
Beware of frosts and keep tender or vulnerable plants protected overnight if frost is forecast. Don’t put out tender bedding plants until late in the month and then be prepared to cover them if needed.
As the soil begins to warm up and things start to grow, tease the soil a little add some general purpose fertiliser. Cover with mulch or leaf mould especially in herbaceous borders, fruit and vegetable areas and containers.
Remove dead heads from daffodils and give them a liquid feed or sprinkling of bone meal and let them die down. Leave the leaves alone as they are necessary to replenish the bulbs ready for next year. Also dead head spring bedding plants to keep them looking neat and encourage new flowers.
Trees, Shrubs and Climbers
Many shrubs, trees and climbers are now showing early signs of growth and so it’s an ideal time to check them over for winter damage and treat them to a little TLC. Also it’s not too late to complete March pruning jobs if you haven't got round to finishing them yet.
April is the best time of year to plant conifers and evergreen trees and shrubs. As the soil begins to warm up the roots will soon start to grow and aid establishment. Plant firmly and make sure they are well watered during the first growing season. In windy or exposed areas, protect newly planted shrubs either by staking or surrounding them with windbreak netting.
Although April is considered to be a rather wet month, there are often long, dry spells combined with winds which can dry-out both evergreen and tender, young deciduous leaves. So keep a careful eye on the weather and water when needed.
The Kitchen Garden
Add soil improvers and conditioners such as well-rotted farmyard manure and compost this month to suit the needs of the plants that will be growing there.
Potatoes: Wait until soil is warm enough before planting potatoes – especially after this long, cold winter. A good indication is when the weeds start to grow (a sure sign the ground is warming up). If you got off to an early start last month with your potatoes, then they may be ready for earthing up – especially if there are frosts around. Earth them up or cover with newspaper, net curtain or horticultural fleece overnight.
Peas sown in the autumn or earlier will need something to climb up. This can be twiggy sticks, or mesh netting.
Prick out baby seedlings in the before they become straggly and shade seedlings in the greenhouse or on the window sill on sunny days. Young seedlings can quickly wilt and die.
Prepare runner and climbing French bean supports to save time later in the year. Try using hazel poles or other long branches instead of cane. If you have bamboo in the garden, why not cut and use those canes if they are tall enough?
April is an important month for lawn care, especially for weed control and fertilising. These activities don’t take long, and the results are well worth it for the carefree garden you'll enjoy during the months to come. Make sure to keep moss, dandelions, crabgrass and other perennial weeds at bay.
Mowing : This is the most obvious and the most important maintenance task over spring and summer. Regular mowing keeps a lawn in good health. For the first cut in April set the mower to about an inch high – don’t be tempted to cut lower for the first few times or during dry periods.
Killing moss : Moss is a problem in damp or badly drained lawns. Spring is a good time to tackle moss problems. There are several options for dealing with moss in lawns using proprietary moss killers from your garden centre, lawn sand, raking and improving drainage! (Usually a combination of all of them!)
Feeding : In mid-spring, use a proprietary spring or summer lawn feed at the manufacturer’s recommended rates. Feeding the lawn will increase vigour and help prevent weeds and moss from establishing. Best applied when the soil is moist, or when rain is forecast.
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