Your garden is starting to come to life so April is a busy month in the garden with lots of jobs to keep you busy. Here's our advice on what to to do and plant in the garden in April.
1. Plant trees and shrubs
The best time to plant trees and shrubs is either just as they begin dormancy in the autumn or just as they're coming out of dormancy in the spring. They can be planted any time in between but it's often difficult if the ground is frozen.
When planting your trees and shrubs, dig a hole in the desired location, large enough to fit all of the roots without bending or breaking them and deep enough to fit the entire root ball so that the base of the trunk is level with the soil surface.
Loosen the edges and base of the hole with a fork to make it easy for the roots to settle in.
Throw a handful of granular fertiliser into the hole and mix with compost. If the granular fertiliser comes into contact with the roots it can damage them so make sure it's well mixed into the bottom of the hole.
Position the tree or shrub in the hole and decide which way you would like it to face. e.g. if it has a large branch on one side you would want that facing into the garden rather than into a wall or fence.
Fill the hole back in with the displaced soil and firm down. Apply a generous amount of water to settle the roots.
2. Remove weeds from the lawn
Any tap-rooted weeds, such as dandelions will start to appear in April. It’s best to keep on top of them, so now’s a good time to start. There are a number of different methods for removing weeds, including:
Hand fork: You can dig a weed out with a hand fork although doing so can leave the lawn looking a bit pot-holed.
Bulb planter: Your bulb planter can have a dual purpose! Position it over the offending weed and remove the entire core of soil. The soil can then be removed from the roots and put back in the hole.
3. Remove dead wood from trees and shrubs
In the spring when your plants start growing, always monitor how they’re getting on. If any stems or branches are growing astray, tie them back in or add further support if necessary.
If you notice any dead wood in your trees and shrubs, clip off the stems or branches that are dead due to damage at its base with long-handled loppers or hand pruners as soon as you notice it.
4. Deadhead spring bedding
By dead-heading your bedding plants, you will increase the flowering time and the number of flowers per plant.
Instead of the plant using its energy to produce a seed head, it will use its energy to grow new flowers instead, giving you a longer-lasting display that you can enjoy throughout the season!
5. Pinch out summer flowering bedding plants
When you receive plug plants in the post, they can often appear to be a bit leggy. There's nothing to worry about, they will bush out naturally as soon as they’re planted out, but to help them along in the mean-time you can pinch them out.
It’s easy to do, simply pinch off the growing tip above a lower down node (where the plant branches out) about halfway up the stem. This can be done with your thumb and forefinger.
6. Hoe and weed beds and borders
Weeds will really have started getting going by now and it’s best to keep on top of it before they take over. Depending on how many weeds you have growing in your garden they can be pulled out by hand or hoed away.
Spring weeds can grow in thick patches and can cover an entire bed, the easiest way to remove them is by hoeing and then raking them off.