Spring officially started a few weeks ago (on the 20th March 2019) meaning the growing season is now officially in full swing. The April garden is starting to become lush and green again and with the weather warming slightly, it’s time to go out and really start sprucing up the garden. Keep an eye out for any late frost though, spring flowering fruit trees will have their fruit production affected if the blossoms are damaged by frost.
Our Gardening Jobs for April has everything that you need to oversee in the garden to make sure that this month is a great start to the growing season.
Tree2mydoor April Care Guide
Native tree saplings in April
If you have received one of our native tree saplings in April then it should just be starting to show some signs of life towards the end of April.
Our native tree saplings will be coming out of dormancy and are ready for planting. Start by choosing a large pot (with drainage holes) to plant into, add a layer of pebbles to the base to help with drainage, then fill with topsoil and a mix of multipurpose compost and make a hole in the centre that is larger than the root ball. Place the root ball into the pot and firm down. Keep the soil of the tree moist but not wet and make sure not to over water. As the growing season continues the roots will become established in the soil.
We would suggest choosing a starting pot of no less than 5L, this will last the sapling a couple of years before it grows and needs repotting. Make sure to choose a deep pot as trees have deeper root systems.
Rose bushes in April
Our rose bushes are also jumping back to life over April time with new green leaves starting to sprout.
You can plant your rose bush as soon as they are received in April and it is a great month to transplant a rose bush. Alternatively, you can keep your rose bush in the pot they arrive in, although we recommend planting into a larger container or out into a garden border within 3 months.
If you plan to plant your rose bushes straight into the ground, make sure that the ground is not frozen or waterlogged and make sure not to plant rose bushes where others have been grown before as this can lead to replant infection.
Regular garden maintenance in Spring
It’s time to keep your lawn mower close to hand as from now until autumn, the grass will continue to grow rapidly and regular cuttings will be needed. This will last from about April to September.
The new spring growth isn’t just reserved for your well-loved plants. Expect an onslaught of new weeds to start popping their heads up from beneath the soil. Keep on top of the weeding by removing them as they show up. Make sure to remove the whole plant including the roots in order to keep them well at bay.
Preparing soil and flower beds in April
Replace nutrients in the soil to give trees and plants the best start to the growing season. Dig some new compost or well-rotted manure through the topsoil taking it down a couple of inches.
Adding a couple of inches of mulch to the soil is also a good way to prep it for the upcoming year. It helps to improve the texture of the soil and lock in moisture while inhibiting any new weed growth. Make sure that the mulch doesn’t get pushed too close to the base of the plants as this can cause rotting to the main stem.
Pruning Trees and Plants in April
It is best to do the first prune for shape on evergreens such as lavender and rosemary in spring. In April you should create the rough shape you would like the tree to be and then this will be neatened up in summer. Cut back any old flowering stems but avoid hitting the old wood as this inhibits the plant's growth.
The same goes for your bay trees. Start pruning for shape by removing stems that ruin the silhouette. Also, make note to cut out any dead or diseased branches to keep the tree healthy and any branches that are crossing or rubbing to keep the centre of the tree open.
Potted Plants in April
Add a fresh layer of compost to your potted plants if you do not plan on repotting them. To do this, remove the first couple of inches of compost and backfill with new. This is known as top dressing and adds well-needed nutrients back into the soil.
Adding a layer of mulch to the top of compost is a great way to conserve moisture content in the soil. Use a layer of organic matter such as well-rotted manure, bark chippings or shredded leaves. Keep a little distance between the mulch and the base of the stem of the tree as this can cause rotting.
As the weather warms slightly you can increase the watering of your potted plants. Be aware of heavy rain in the season to avoid root damage or waterlogged soil. If the pots do become waterlogged then the drainage should be improved. This can be done by standing the pots up on bricks to allow the water to drain freely.
Late frosts can also prove to be a problem for potted plants. The cold weather is known to damage root systems if the pots get too cold. Using horticultural fleece around pots is a good way to protect the roots. If you don’t have any of this then place the pots in a sheltered location all huddled together. This will also help protect from the cold.
Dealing with Pests in April
Keep an eye on new growth in the garden. Pests such as aphids will make quick work of any new shoots and plants.
Avoid using nasty pesticides around the garden and try to encourage more natural predators that will keep the pests to a minimum.
What to Plant in April?
Get all your summer flowering bulbs in the soil now if you haven’t done so already. Make sure the soil is prepared well and has good drainage to avoid the bulbs rotting when it rains.
April is the perfect time for planting your new evergreen trees and plants. When doing your planting also consider transplanting any evergreens trees that may need moving to another location this month.
Now is a perfect time for planting up more containers for the garden. Keep the freshly potted plants protected and sheltered in a porch or greenhouse to give the roots more time to establish in the compost making sure that they are ready for the summer weather.
Container grown fruit trees and bushes are great for planting at any time of the year, however, planting them in early spring will allow for the roots to become more established in the compost as the new growing season starts.
What to harvest in April?
Evergreen herbs are great to have in the garden as they can be harvested and used in the kitchen year round. Rosemary, lavender and bay trees are all great examples and become their freshest around this time of year. The sprigs that are harvested now can be used or dried for use throughout the rest of the year.
Tea plants will have started producing their first flush of leaves for the season. Harvest the top 2-3 leaves from the top of the plant every 8 to 10 days. Use the leaves fresh or dry and process them for later. The first flush of leaves in the spring is most valued as it produces light, fragrant batches of tea.
Protecting new Plants in the Spring
Climbing roses will start to grow very quickly now and will need all the support they can get. Make sure they have enough support and space for the new spring growth. Expand your trellis or add more wire supports where necessary.
If you hear that a late frost might be on the way cover any blossoming trees to avoid any damage. A layer of horticultural fleece should do just the trick.
Horticultural fleece can also be wrapped around potted plants to keep the roots a little warmer when it's cold.
Feeding your Plants in April
A general balanced feed or fertiliser will help give most plants a good boost.
Blueberry plants will benefit from an ericaceous feed or fertiliser at this time of year.
What’s looking good in April?
Magnolia trees can start blooming as early as February but early spring is when they really come to life, they are usually the first trees to show some new life and the large blooms will add beautiful colour to an outdoor space.
Both flowering and fruiting cherry trees will start to bloom from mid to late March into mid-April. They will fill the garden with petite cherry pink and white blossoms.
Encouraging wildlife in April
Keep bird feeders clean and filled and make sure to top up the bird baths.
Create a pollinator-friendly garden with wildflower seeds as a way to encourage bees and butterflies.
Put on your DIY hat and create some habitats for insects and birds for the garden.
Organic matter can be left around the garden for birds to make nests from. Tying things like pet hair, twigs and moss are all loved by birds.
Indoor gardening tips for April
Repot your citrus trees with a batch of new compost. Try and choose one specifically for your citrus variety. If not then go for an ericaceous type compost.
Move your houseplants back onto windowsills. Now is a perfect time as the weather is warmer and they are able to get plenty of spring sunshine.