Welcome to your one-stop resource for gardening in April.
If you’re not sure what to focus on this month, or are short on time for gardening, this is a great place to start.
You can check out my gardening jobs for every other month in this post.
Gardening in April
This is the month when the garden really starts to take off. The weather warms up, the daylight hours increase, and everything feels like it just wants to get going. All that activity means it can be tricky staying on top of things, but I find the sense of optimism and new beginnings that nature provides in April pretty infectious!
What to do in the garden in April
If you’re wondering where to start this month, here are my suggestions for your April gardening to do list.
Keep on top of weeds
It’s not just the plants you want to grow that are going for it at this time of year; weeds are doing their best to take over too.
Little and often is a great approach for weeding. Tackling them regularly means you remove them before they get too established, which will save lots of time in the long run. It will also give your plants the space and nutrients they need in order to thrive.
Deadhead daffodils and tulips
If your garden daffodils or tulips have finished flowering, it’s a good idea to remove the faded flower heads. This stops the plant putting energy into producing seeds, which in turn allows it to concentrate energy back into the bulb. Avoid removing the leaves until they die back and turn yellow, as this will also help to improve bulb strength.
Get plant supports in place
Your plants may not need support right now, but they will soon. It’s much easier to get the supporting structures in place now, because you don’t have to work around lots of new plant growth. Plus it always looks better when the plant can grow up through its support.
Typical candidates for *plant supports are peonies, hydrangeas and lavatera (mallow), and of course climbing plants such as clematis and honeysuckle. Don’t forget your edible plants too; if you’re growing peas or beans these will need supports as well.
Tidy up climbing plants
At this time of year climbing plants can really start to grow fast, and you can quickly get into a situation where they’ve run amok. Spend a few minutes tying-in new shoots to their supports, and you’ll not only make the plant look better, you’ll avoid snapped stems caused by heavy winds or the plant’s own weight.
Start planning bedding plant displays
Now’s a great time to start thinking about which annual bedding plants you’d like to grow this year. Bedding plants are perfect for containers, hanging baskets and bare patches in borders, and garden retailers are full of them right now. If you’re gardening on a budget, you can save money by buying small plants and growing them on yourself – look out for ‘plug plants’ in garden centres and online.
Encourage garden wildlife
Your local wildlife will be very busy rearing young right now, and you can give them a helping hand by providing a source of food and water. Keep your bird bath and *bird feeders topped up, or make your own fat cakes to give them a high-energy treat.
Think about pollinating insects too. Installing a *bee hotel, leaving a ‘messy’ corner of the garden, and choosing plants that are good for pollinating insects can make a huge difference to how much wildlife visits your garden and makes a home there. It helps our native species thrive, it’s good for the garden, and it’s a brilliant way to get the kids active outdoors too.
Check for slugs and snails
Slugs and snails will be getting more active now – particularly if you’ve got lots of lovely tasty seedlings for them to enjoy. Check your plants and containers regularly, and remove any offenders. You can deter slugs and snails using physical barriers such as crushed eggshells or *copper tape. If you decide to use slug pellets, choose *metaldehyde-free ones which have less impact on wildlife and the environment.
If slugs and snails are a real problem in your garden, this video has lots of ideas for dealing with them using organic methods:
Clean the greenhouse
If you have a greenhouse, it’s a good idea to give it a thorough clean this month, before it starts filling up. Give the interior a good sweep, then clean the glass with hot soapy water. Doing this will remove pests and also increase light levels.
Check tree supports
As trees begin to produce more leaves and blossom, their supports will be placed under additional strain. Check your tree stakes and ties, to see if they’re still nice and sturdy. Look out also for anything that has become too tight as the trunk has grown, and loosen if necessary.
As the weather warms up, your lawn will start to grow again. If you need to mow the grass, choose a bright, dry day and keep your mower blades high for the first few cuts to allow new grass shoots to develop.
Your lawn may have become compacted from being walked in over winter. If this is the case, you can use a *garden fork to make holes in the surface at regular intervals. This will improve drainage. You can also make the whole lawn look neater by using a *lawn edger to tidy up the edges.
If your lawn is generally looking a bit worse for wear, you can apply *lawn fertiliser to give it a boost and encourage lots of new growth. If you have lots of weeds and/or moss, a combined feed, weed and mosskiller is a better option. It will result in bare patches, but these should fill in quickly. You can of course also sow *lawn seed to speed things up a bit.
If you haven’t already done it, now’s the time to cut back ornamental grasses. Use *secateurs to cut all dead stems back close to ground level to make way for the new growth.
Shrubs that flowered last summer such as buddleia and fuschia can be cut back hard this month, to encourage them to produce lots of new growth. Similarly, if you have dogwood plants you can cut them back hard now to stimulate more growth in time for next winter.
Early flowering shrubs can also be pruned now. Aim to thin stems out as opposed to a hard prune. This will create new growth which will give you more flowers next year. You can also remove any damaged stems at the same time.
What to plant in April
As well as all these garden jobs, gardening in April is very much about planting. For a full list of flowers, fruit and vegetables you can grow, head over to my post on what to plant in April.
Finally, if the weather forecast is looking promising you might also like to check out my post on how to get the garden ready for summer, or grow some colourful spring flowers for pots. And if it isn’t, you can relax with some lovely spring quotes.
What jobs have you got on your April gardening to do list?