Top Jobs for April

1.It’s now a good time to sow seeds of hardy annuals like nasturtium, calendula, lavatera and cornflowers.

2. Feed all other plants in the garden using a slow-release fertiliser to improve plant flowering and growth.

3. Now the soil is warming up and things are starting to grow, add general purpose fertiliser before covering with mulch especially in borders, the fruit and vegetable patch and containers. If you have already mulched, draw it back (if possible), tease the soil a little, add fertiliser and replace the mulch.

4. Make new beds and borders - mark the shape with sand trickled from a bottle, remove the top layer of growing vegetation and dig the ground over, incorporating as much organic matter as possible. If you are making a bed in the lawn, remove the turf – if you dig it in the buried grass will regrow.

5. When it is warm enough, treat sheds, fences and trellis with wood preservative; brushes and rollers are fine for most things, however a sprayer is well worth buying for tricky projects such as woven panels!

6. Now is the time to wage war on slugs and snails. They love tulips and delicacies such as the delicious young shoots of delphiniums and the like, so use pet-friendly slug pellets, drench the ground around hostas with liquid slug killer to exterminate slugs below the surface. Keep an eye out for snails and pick them off - what you do with them is up to you. Birds are your friends here - flat stones artfully located are useful accessories for birds to practise their snail bashing techniques.  



• Thin out herbaceous plants, prune spring flowering shrubs once flowering has finished and trim evergreen hedges and shrubs.

• Deadhead spring bedding plants such as pansies and primulas.

• Remove tired or dead winter bedding and plants that did not survive the winter.

•Divide any herbaceous perennials you want to propagate.

• Put supports in place now for perennials so that they can grow over them.

• Sweet peas can be sown outside this month.

• Prune penstemons, Teucrium, lavender and other slightly tender plants making the cuts just above fresh, new shoots.

• Plant summer-flowering bulbs.

• Deadhead daffodil and tulip flowers, nipping off the heads and seed pod as they fade but don’t cut them down yet. Don’t cut off the leaves as they are necessary to replenish the bulb for next year. Keep deadheading spring bedding to keep it looking neat and encourage new flowers.  



• It’s now an ideal time to plant strawberry plants in your garden.  



• In early April sow garden vegetables like potatoes, peas, broad beans, leeks, cauliflower, summer cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions, spinach, turnips, parsnips and lettuce outdoors. Other vegetables like cucumbers, courgettes and outdoor tomatoes can be sown under glass and runner beans can be started individually in 3 inch pots ready for planting in May.



• Now is the perfect time to get the lawnmower out and cut your grass for the first time this year. Cut grass with the lawn mower blades set high for the first few times, then use a good lawn feed and weed killer to help your lawn look its best. Also re-seed and re-turf any bald patches.

• Cut the lawn edges and create a 3in gutting between the lawn and flower borders.

• You can sow new lawns or over-seed dead patches from mid-April to early May.

• Apply a high nitrogen spring lawn fertiliser to encourage good, strong growth.

• If you have a problem with moss you can choose a combined fertiliser and mosskiller when feeding the lawn.  


Greenhouse, sheds and Houseplants

• Indoor/conservatory plants will need more watering as the days get longer.

• Hydrangeas and fuchsias can be propagated from softwood cuttings from the stem.  


Trees, shrubs and climbers

 • Tie climbing and rambling roses as near to horizontal as possible to restrict sap flow thus causing more sideshoots to grow along the stem resulting in more flowers.

• Mulching rose and shrub beds with a layer of organic matter will help retain moisture and reduce weed build-up – even improving soil structure over time.

• Delay pruning any spring-flowering shrubs such as Forsythia until after they have finished flowering or this year's display will be lost.

• You can still plant deciduous hedging plants, shrubs, trees and climbers.

• Prune evergreen shrubs such as Choisya ternata and evergreen Ceanothus.

• Remove frost damaged shoots from evergreens damaged by wintry weather.

• Remove single colour green shoots on hardy variegated evergreens that are reverting to a single colour.

• Take cuttings of conifers for propagation of your favourites.  


Soils, mulching and weed control

• Mulch away while you can still see what you are doing and before the herbaceous growth really takes off. Use your own garden compost or leaf mould, well rotted manure, the contents of out-of-date grow bags or ready-made soil conditioner.

• Carry on removing moss and weeds from paths, terraces and drives.



• Pond algae grows when there is excessive sun light. Create extra shade by dividing and replanting waterlilies when they are showing signs of growth.

• Start feeding the fish.

• Clean out your pond filter. Check the filter a week after cleaning it as the water will be very dirty from the winter and it may need cleaning again.


TOP TIP: Beware late frosts and keep vulnerable plants and new shoots protected at night if frost is forecast. Don’t be tempted to put out tender bedding until much later on in the month and even then be prepared to cover it if necessary.