April is such an exciting month in the garden; colour has returned with all the glorious spring bulbs, seeds are sprouting, and that bright flush of lime green new growth lights up the trees and hedgerows.
With the longer, milder days, and (hopefully!) some sunshine to enjoy it’s a time we can get out and really start to enjoy the garden again.
It’s a busy time of year, and there is plenty that needs doing this month, so here are a few pointers to help you prepare for the growing season.
- Feeding and mulching around the garden is an essential task in spring, while the ground is still moist after winter. Apply a dressing of general purpose fertiliser such as bone meal or growmore and a good mulch of well rotted compost or manure to hedging plants, shrubs, ornamental and fruiting trees and soft fruit bushes.
- Roses will benefit from a feed of specialist rose feed as well as a good mulch.
- Make sure all your containers are fed as well, and pot on anything that you suspect might need more room or a refresh of compost to see it through the season ahead.
- Fruit blossom may need protection from late frosts. Frost can damage blossom as well as fertilised flowers and so affect the years cropping. Fruit trees and soft fruit can be affected, so if late frosts threaten this month consider protecting with horticultural fleece.
- Climbing and rambling roses that have put on new growth or become loosened by winter winds should be tied in carefully to their supports.
- Now is a good time to prune fig trees. Remove any dead, diseased, or crossing growth, as well as any suckers appearing from ground level
- Evergreen hedges that have been planted this winter can be cut back by around a third now. This will encourage side shoots and a nice bushy habit. Examples include Ligustrum, Lonicera and Photinia.
- Winter and spring flowering shrubs such as Viburnum bodnantense, Viburnum tinus and Forsythia can all be pruned as soon as flowering comes to an end.
- As those gorgeous blooms of daffodils, narcissi and tulip bulbs fade you can deadhead them and avoid them becoming unsightly in your borders. Simply snip the heads off and leave the foliage to die back naturally.
Through all the business make sure you give yourself time to sit back and enjoy the season and the fruits of your labour!
(And don’t forget our next photo competition – the theme is ‘Trees and Plants in Water’ and there’s over £100 in vouchers to be had!)