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28 March 2013

April Gardening Tasks

As the temperature rises (we hope) and the days lengthen, April should be a busy time for the gardener. However the weather is often unreliable and following a cold March some jobs may be best left until later in the month. You've probably still got some of March's jobs to do to keep you busy but below is a list of tasks for April.

1) You may still want to improve the soil in your borders before further planting and it's not too late to dig in some organic matter.

2) As temperatures increase so do weeds. If you get on top of them now they should be less of a problem later in the year.

3) Provide support for any tall border plants which are susceptible to wind damage. Many of them become top heavy when flowering but some canes and twine will keep them upright and will soon be hidden by foliage. Also tie in climbing plants and rambling roses.

4) When the soil has warmed up you can sow hardy annuals directly in their flowering positions. Nasturtiums, pot marigolds, candytuft, cornflowers and love-in-a-mist are all suitable. It is advisable to mark where you have sown seeds as you may mistake seedlings for weeds as they start to emerge.

5) April is a good time to plant evergreens and new evergreen hedges as it gives them a chance to get established while the weather is mild and wet, assuming the weather behaves as it should.

6) Unsprouted dahlia tubers can be planted now but this is better left until May if you live in a colder area.

7) You can still plant bulbs which flower in late summer.

8) Feed young trees and hungry shrubs and climbers using an organic slow-release fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone. Fast-action fertilisers will lead to flabby growth that is vulnerable to the elements and diseases. After feeding, top-dress roses and any shrubs and climbers that have been pruned hard.

9) Pot up or pot on pelargoniums or fuchsias which have been overwintered.

10) Prick out and pot up half-hardy annuals but keep them frost free for at least a month yet.

11) Sow lawn seed as soon as possible and feed existing lawns with an organic fertiliser.

12) Increase the water given to houseplants.

13) Protect fruit blossom from late frosts

I hope you manage to work your way through the jobs that apply to your garden and that you enjoy a warm, sunny April for it!
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