April brings longer, warmer, lighter days which shake off the dreariness of Winter with colourful Spring shows of daffodils and blossom. April showers and warmer weather are giving our gardens the kick start it needs to start growing and blooming. Whilst it’s also the perfect time to start sowing outdoors as the soil warms up. Even if you don’t possess green fingers, our April gardening tips will help the avid amateur create the garden of their dreams.
Quick gardening task checklist for April
- Keep your weeds under control
- Protect your fruit blossoms from any late frosts
- Tie in your climbing roses
- Sow your herb seeds
- Start to feed your citrus plants
- Increase the amount of water you are giving to your houseplants
- Feed your shrubs and roses, they will start to get hungrier!
- Sow some new lawns or repair bare patches
- Prune your fig trees
- Divide your bamboo’s and waterlilies
1. Pests and Disease
Make sure you stay vigilant against pests and disease; you don’t want your hard work to go to waste thanks to something that can be prevented.
Damage to your plant roots due to vine weevil larvae is evident through signs of your plants starting to wilt. Upon closer inspection of your roots, you will see they are badly eaten and the larvae will still be present. For more established plants, try to apply chemical or biological control measures if the larvae are still present. Unfortunately young plants are unlikely to recover.
Bracket fungus on trees is more visible at this time of year. You may need to call a tree surgeon for a professional opinion if the tree is in poor health.
2. Your Greenhouse
Maintaining a temperature is extremely important for the care of your greenhouse plants. Keeping a minimum temperature of 5oC will prevent delicate flowers from being killed by the cold. Tropical plants need a higher temperature to survive (around 12oC)
When the weather starts to get warmer, start damping your greenhouse floor in the morning. This increases the humidity levels which will reduce problems associated with red spider mites, which prefer dryer environments.
On the other hand, very humid environments can promote the growth of diseases such as grey mould. To stop this problem, it is important to have open vents and doors for warmer days. Ideally, installing automatic vent openers that react to temperature would be the best course of action.
To prevent disease, remember to give greenhouse plants more space as they begin to put on new growth.
3. Pond Care
Your pond is full of life, and as the seasons change into spring you are likely to see your water change from clear to a greenish colour. This is natural a natural colour change thanks to the algae beginning to grow as life begins to stir after the winter. This should dissipate after a few weeks, but if not then adding some more oxygenating plants will help clear it.
You should start to tidy up plants in the bog garden, as well as mulch the area with composted bark. This allows the marginal plants to disguise the end of the pond. It is important that you divide and cut back bog garden plants to ensure that they do not become overcrowded.
4. Structures and Paths
As your garden comes to life, it is important to keep your pathways and structures in a good condition to tie up all the hard work you have put into your garden. Start by using a stiff bristled brush or a pressure washer to remove algae from your paths, walls and paving.
During dry spells, you can treat timber structures with wood preservatives or stains. You should only do this in a well ventilated area to reduce the risks to your lungs or eyes. You should also use products that are safe and legal, Creosote is no longer a legal product.
5. Keeping Your Lawn Healthy
In April, lawns start to show a real growth spurt. Mow your lawn whenever necessary to ensure a constant height throughout the year. You can then use the lawn clippings in your composting. Add the clippings in small layers to ensure that it is properly aerated and will not turn into a smelly slime. You should also use a spade to add a small gutter at the lawn edge to prevent the grass creeping from the lawn borders.
If there are bare patches of your lawn that you wish to re-seed, you should wait until there is consistently warm weather to ensure adequate germination. The ideal timing is around late April to early May.
April is also the best time to apply lawn weed killer. Always read the instructions before using lawn chemicals (this includes fertilisers, weed killers, and moss killers) can cause pollution to groundwater if used incorrectly.
Should you need a hand with garden landscaping and general maintenance, Thames Valley Landscapes can help. Call us on 01628 629 720 for creative ways to make the most of your garden space all year round.