Look at your garden, your patio and your window boxes and you’ll see spring’s unique calling card. The flowers are blooming, what wasn’t green over the winter is now getting greener and your beds should be ideal for planting.
All the wonderful explosions of colour and activity that emerged in March mean that there are lots of things to do in the garden in April, including keeping your plants healthy, making sure your garden structures are in tip-top condition and keeping an eye on your lawn.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important April garden tasks for UK gardeners.
General Garden Maintenance
There will always be things to do in the garden regardless of where you are in the gardening calendar aside from planting, digging, pruning and weeding.
Make sure your gutters are free of debris so the famous April showers refill your water butts. If there’s a late frost, have some spare cloches or fleeces on hand to protect young or fragile plants.
Among the more general gardening jobs for April, is ensuring that birds are well fed and watered because this is the time of year they are rearing their young.
One thing most people put off but should be on your list of things to do in the garden in April is to make sure your greenhouse, shed, garden furniture and fence panels are in good condition.
Whether you want to give the shed a new lick of paint, creosote your fence, clean the greenhouse or fix your garden furniture after the harsh winter, do it now ready for the summer.
Now is the time to plant the flowers you want to bloom in summer, such as marigolds, sunflowers, foxgloves and pineapple lilies, as well as wildflowers. You can also sow annuals and the ‘throw and sow’ seeds which should germinate within a few days.
If you’re planning your summer beds and you prefer to buy flowers ready-grown rather than grow them from seed, now’s the time to get to the garden centre or nursery.
Prune your forsythia, lavender, hydrangeas and penstemons, deadhead your spring bulbs and divide primroses after they have finished flowering. You can also plant your rhododendron bushes.
If you have flowers and shrubs in containers, one of the most vital garden jobs for April is to ensure they have all the nutrients they need. You may also want to topdress them. That is taking off the top two or three inches of compost and adding a fresh layer mixed with fertiliser and a good drink of water.
It’s also worth checking for weevils that love to eat the roots of container plants. If you do spot any, there are plenty of available ways to get rid of them. Look online or ask in your garden centre.
Fruit & Veg
One of the most important gardening jobs to do in April is to transfer your courgettes, chillies and tomatoes from the greenhouse to your beds.
You can sow batches of salad leaves like rocket and plenty of lettuce varieties and you can now plant the rest of your potatoes.
You can keep planting onions and garlic every few weeks, so you have a steady supply. The tender herbs you were keeping indoors or in the greenhouse until the weather warmed up can now be planted outside.
If you have any gaps, you can fill them with fast-growing crops such as radishes, cress, spinach or peas.
In your fruit garden, there are plenty of April garden tasks that will keep you occupied. If you have fruit trees in pots on the patio. Add fresh compost and a slow-release fertiliser, and when you see the leaves of peach and nectarine trees emerging, spray them to prevent leaf-curl. You can transfer strawberries from hanging baskets to permanent beds and make sure your cane fruit like blackberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants are well-fed.
You probably did the first mow of the year in March. However, if it was too wet, it’s one of the gardening jobs to do in April. As well as keeping the grass nice and short, you can use an aerator or a fork to make holes in the lawn to help aerate the soil and prevent it from compacting.
At the same time you should also get rid of any weeds, and you can do it using weed killer or by hand. Once it’s clean and tidy, dress the grass with feed and a conditioner. If you have any bald patches, you can re-sow them now for growth by the summer.