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Top tips for gardening in April
As your Daffodils finish flowering, don’t forget to deadhead them. This will ensure that the plant does not weaken itself by producing unnecessary seed. Snap the dead flower heads off just behind the swollen part – this will ensure you of a good display next year. The foliage must be left intact until it has died down and a top dressing with fish, blood and bone will help towards a good display next year.
Any perennials that need dividing should be done when the weather warms up before they become too tall. At the same time, remove any dead growth left from last year. This applies especially to grasses that should have the old dead matter removed before there is any risk of damaging the new shoots. If you haven’t already done so, a top dressing of well-rotted compost or composted horse manure lightly forked into the border will pay dividends.
Think ahead and put your means of support for the tall-growing perennials in place. If you have access to hazel twigs and the time to weave them together over the plants you will be rewarded with a completely natural look, but if you haven’t, don’t despair – we sell many designs of plant supports that will do the job, save you time and last for many years.
Later in the month when the soil warms up, Dahlia tubers can be planted out. They should be planted at least 15cm deep, make sure that a generous application of well-rotted organic matter has been well dug in and a handful of Fish, Blood & Bone, will give a good start to the season. Sturdy stakes inserted into the ground at this stage will avoid you damaging the tuber later.
As the soil warms up it’s also a good time to sow lawn seed, whether to patch the odd bare patch or create a new lawn. The ground should be carefully prepared and the soil raked to a fine tilth. To create a level seedbed that doesn’t sink, tread the soil down firmly and then rake the soil in the opposite direction. Choose your seed carefully according to your needs and the lawns situation; we have a very comprehensive range and our team of experts will be pleased to advise you.
New lawns prepared with turf will establish faster than seeded ones, so if you are in a hurry, turf is the answer. The soil preparation is just as important and a little time in preparing the soil correctly will save you time making the necessary corrections later.
When gardening in April, trim Lavenders back to keep them bushy and compact. Be careful that you don’t cut into old wood as they dislike this, but if you leave them unpruned the centres become sparse and unattractive.
After Forsythia (with their glorious colour) have finished flowering, the flowering stems should be cut back to two or three shoots from the base. This will ensure that you get a good show of flowers next year.
Spray your Roses this month for black spot; prevention is better than cure for this disfiguring disease. A ready to use spray named ‘Roseclear’ is available in our garden shop. Do remember to spray when the weather is still and preferably in the evenings when there are fewer bees about. As with all chemicals, please adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Tomatoes can be planted this month in heated greenhouses and we have a good range of varieties to choose from to suit all tastes. Tomatoes are susceptible to soil-borne diseases and grow bags are the answer to success. If you can’t provide an overnight temperature of 14°C, it’s best to leave planting until a little later. It’s a good idea to warm the grow bags in the greenhouse before planting; cold soil encourages the stems to rot and the plants to receive a check.
Put up yellow sticky cards to catch whitefly before it becomes a problem. Introducing a biological control, in the form of Encarsia Formosa, is another efficient way to keep whitefly under control without using chemicals. It will polish off Mother Nature’s natural predators, such as ladybirds and hoverflies, as well. Our trained staff will be pleased to advise you on this important subject.
Contact our friendly team
Browse our range of plants, tools and accessories at our garden centre in St Albans – ideal for gardening in April.
For more information, contact our friendly team on 01727 822255 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.