Spring is finally in evidence as daffodils and flowering trees start to bloom. Expect the inevitable April showers this month but with sunny days to, when you can turn your attention to the lawn. It’s an exciting month, with indoor-sown seeds well into growth, and it’s also time to start sowing outdoors. Just watch out for frosts…
Jobs to do
Lift and divide perennial plants now to improve their vigour and create new plants for your garden. Divide Hostas before they come into leaf. Divide Primroses after they have finished flowering.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses to their supports. Honeysuckle and Clematis will now be putting on growth, tie in new stems to train the plant along its support.
Check any tree ties to make sure the tie is not cutting into the trunk. Loosen any that are tight to allow the trunk room to expand. Prune your Penstemons now – cut all the old shoots back to the base provided there is new growth at the bottom of the plant. If there are no new shoots at the base, cut just above the lowest set of leaves.
Prune Forsythia as soon as they have finished flowering, cutting back to strong young shoots. Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent the plants from becoming leggy. Deadhead daffodils and tulips as the flowers finish but leave the foliage intact allowing it to die back naturally. Direct sow hardy annuals outside or in pots. Check that your container plants are not drying out – warm weather will quickly affect soil moisture levels.
Plant out strawberry plants, making sure you enrich the soil first with plenty of well-rotted manure. Place cloches over your strawberry plants for earlier crops. Protect your fruit blossom from late frosts by covering them with fleece on cold nights. Spray the emerging leaves of peach and nectarine trees to prevent peach leaf curl. Sheltering your plants from the rain will also reduce the risk of peach leaf curl.
Sow lawn seed now on well-prepared soil and keep the soil moist whilst the seed is germinating. For an instant lawn, lay new turf now and ensure it is kept moist until established. Repair any bare patches in your lawn. Apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn now for a boost to the start of the season. Now is a good time to apply specialist lawn weed killers to your lawn where moss and weeds are a problem. On dry days, brush away any worm casts on the lawn. mow your lawn more regularly as required, mower blades can be lowered towards the end of the month.
Check your compost bins to see if there is any compost ready to use. Improve the drainage of heavy soils by incorporating plenty of organic matter. Top up raised beds with compost and good quality topsoil. Top-dress containers with fresh compost. If containers are full, remove the top 5cm of old compost and replace with new. Keep on top of weeding now the weather is warming up. Run a hoe through beds and borders. Apply weed killer to perennial weeds in paving and patios. Look out for signs of pests and diseases, early prevention is easier than curing an infestation.
The best month of spring as everything comes to life, flowers in bloom and new growth everywhere to be seen. Temperatures hopefully into the mid-teens, and the promise of summer to come.