As the weather warms up, things are starting to get busy in the garden. To help you keep on top of things, we’ve put together our top 15 April gardening tips. Give your garden a bit of love and attention now, and you’ll have all summer to enjoy the fruits of your efforts.
Top 15 April gardening tips
- Prepare your soil for planting by clearing weeds out of beds and digging in well-rotted stable manure or compost. Preparing your soil improves soil structure and drainage, helping your plants cope better with both wet and dry summer weather.
- Feed trees, shrubs and roses with a balanced slow-release fertilizer, scattering it on the soil and forking in lightly.
- Give your lawn a high-nitrogen feed and aerate compacted areas by spiking them with a fork. Re-cut wobbly lawn edges to give your garden a fresh, crisp look. Now’s also the best time to sow lawn seed or lay turf for a new lawn.
- Tie in climbing and rambling roses, bending stems to lie as horizontally as possible to encourage them to flower all along their length. Tie in new honeysuckle and clematis shoots as well.
- Put supports for tall perennials in now, while the plants are small and it’s still easy to work around them. Train the plants through the supports as they grow.
- Lift and divide perennials and ornamental grasses, rejuvenating them and giving you more plants. April’s also an excellent time to plant new perennials and shrubs.
- Prune penstemons this month. If there’s new growth showing at the base, cut just above this growth, otherwise cut above the lowest new shoots. Prune forsythia once it finishes flowering, cutting back to vigorous young shoots. Trim lavender and winter-flowering heathers to stop them getting leggy, taking care not to cut into old wood when pruning lavender.
- Pinch out the tips of sweet peas and fuchsias to produce bushy plants.
- Deadhead daffodils and tulips, but leave the leaves to die back naturally, feeding the bulbs for next year’s flowers.
- As the soil warms up, sow hardy annuals like cornflowers and poppies outdoors for fabulous summer colour. In the greenhouse, sow tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins in small pots for planting out in June.
- Plant potatoes in the ground or grow bags. April is also a great month to plant onion and shallot sets.
- If you’re growing asparagus, harvest the first delicious spears now once they reach about 18cm (7in) high.
- Tackle pests and disease early. Protect young seedlings against slugs and snails with grit barriers, copper tape or pellets. Wipe aphids off rose leaves to stop infestations developing, and spray roses with fungicide against blackspot.
- Protect fruit blossom from late frosts by covering trees with horticultural fleece.
- Water houseplants more frequently as the weather warms up.