It’s April, and all around us, the garden is bursting back into life! As spring gets underway, now’s the perfect time to get outdoors and get your garden into shape for the coming year. Here are our top 15 gardening tips for April.
15 gardening tips for April
- Get your vegetable beds ready for the year by clearing them of weeds and digging in garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure. This will improve soil structure, retain moisture in dry summers and help soil drain better in wet years.
- As roses, shrubs and trees start to put on new growth, scatter a slow-release general purpose fertiliser around the base and rake in. Follow this with a layer of mulch such as well-rotted farmyard manure or garden compost.
- Lawns will be starting to grow now too, so give them a boost with a high-nitrogen feed, and use a garden fork or hollow-tine aerator to aerate compacted areas. April’s also a good time to sow seed or lay turf for new lawns.
- Tie in any stray long shoots of climbing roses, honeysuckle and clematis. To encourage climbing roses to produce plenty of flowers, tie shoots so that they lie as close to horizontal as possible.
- Now’s your chance to put in plant supports for tall perennials like asters, sanguisorba and verbena, so that plants can be trained through the supports as they grow (much easier than trying to fit them in once the plants have grown to full size and are flopping everywhere).
- Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials like daylilies and hostas, and plant new perennials and shrubs to fill gaps in the border.
- Once the frosts have passed, prune penstemons. If there’s new growth at the base of the plant, cut just above it, otherwise prune to just above the lowest new shoots.
- Prune spring-flowering plants like forsythia and Japanese quince (Chaenomeles) once they have finished flowering.
- Hard prune shrubby dogwoods (Cornus sibirica, C. sanguinea and C. alba) to encourage them to produce brightly coloured shoots for next winter’s display.
- Trim lavender, making sure not to cut into the old wood.
- Pinch out the growing tips of fuchsia and sweet pea seedlings to encourage bushy plants.
- Deadhead spring bulbs like daffodils and tulips, leave the foliage to die back naturally.
- Use a hoe or hand fork to keep beds clear of weeds as they appear.
- Sow hardy annuals like poppies, cornflower and nigella outdoors, and sow broad beans, carrots, beetroot and parsnips in the veg garden.
- Indoors, sow tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, pumpkins, runner beans and French beans, as well as nasturtiums, sunflowers and dahlias.
Whether it’s seeds, plants, tools or pots, we’ve got everything you need to get your garden looking great. Visit our centre in Ripley to see what’s in store this spring!