At this stage many gardeners will be wondering if we are ever going to see a spring this year. Since New Year the weather has been hugely disappointing often cold and wet and generally poor weather for doing any gardening. The prolonged spells of heavy rain made doing any ground work impossible and in recent weeks we have seen temperatures plummet and heavy snowfalls in some areas. An occasional sunny spell reminds us just how poor the weather has been. Hopefully all will begin to settle and we can look forward to some more pleasant conditions as well as some ‘April showers’.
At this stage some gardeners may be feeling anxious and aware that if temperatures improve dramatically, there will be an immediate increase in workload and staying ahead might be difficult? This month is a wonderful period in the gardening calendar, every day brings new surprises, new additions and new vibrant colours. April can be a wonderful month in the garden and witness a period bursting with activity, excitement and delights.
Key tasks this month:
- Final opportunity to plant any bare root trees, shrubs or hedging.
- Most herbaceous perennials will after 3-5 years form large clumps and become very congested. Now is an ideal time to divide and re-plant. Simply dig out large clump and separate using garden fork or spade and replant
- Time to plant summer flowering bulbs (Alliums, Dahlia, Gladiola, Lily etc). Also good time to plant evergreen shrubs and trees.
- Apply a top dressing of bark mulch to planted beds to conserve moisture and impede weeds. Also creates an attractive neat and tidy look to the border. (Tip: water soil before applying top dressing)
- Usually this is the time to cut/remove the faded blooms of spring bulbs, do not remove foliage for at least 4-6 weeks in order to allow the bulbs to replenish food resources for next year.
- Grass growth so far has been slow but if conditions are suitable lawns can be spruced up and given a spring cut. Any general lawn care including tidying edges, raking and removing thatch can also be done this month.
- Apply a weed & feed to encourage healthy grass growth and discourage weeds, but be careful, grass can be easily damaged ‘scorched’ with excess dosage, if in doubt use liquid feeds. Wet area first before applying liquid feed.
- Check planted borders for any new weeds, a quick tidy up with the hoe will significantly reduce the need for any weeding later in season. Remove any blooming invasive weeds such as Dandelion which will self seed profusely throughout the garden. Worth remembering that ‘One year’s seeding is seven years weeding’.