April Gardening Tips from our Head of Horticulture

Matt Peck Gates Gardening Tips Blog April 2024

Welcoming Spring – Matt’s April Notebook

April is a month of newness, as spring blossom is emerging en masse, from magnolias, cherry, Amelanchiers, fruiting trees, and tulip flower buds are bursting. For me April is when I welcome my favourite time of the gardening year.

Watching last year’s hard work come to fruition, and my new plans being put into action, growth will soon be seen. Recent planting emerges and seeds already sown have begun to germinate, with much more to sow and grow in the weeks ahead.

Even though April is a month of longer, lighter days, do not forget that sharp frosts are still likely. It’s important not to jump the gun with planting non-hardy annuals, or plants you might have been growing with susceptible new young shoots or growth, straight into the garden without protection, or without being able to move them into frost free places on colder nights.

It’s now time to get any summer flowering plants potted if you haven’t yet started.

Lawn care is now the biggest of tasks. Grass now needs its first cut, if your ground isn’t too wet and sodden. Once you have given it a trim, begin to lower blade heights each week with each cut, and start to improve aeration, which in turn will improve drainage. Set about repairing bare patches or damaged areas of the lawn from winter, treating the lawn to some special attention will pay off making a stronger and more lush lawn this summer.

Now is the time to buy young perennials and get them planted out into beds and borders, so that in a couple of months, they will have grown and be delivering you beautiful summer blooms.

The wet and mild weather this year has caused earlier flowering of magnolias for sure, and I have seen the flower buds of native bluebells, so watch out in local woodlands so as not to miss out on what will be an earlier and rather magnificent show this season.

Magnolia tree in bloom

Key Plants in the garden this month:

  • Lungworts (pulmonaria)
  • Siberian bugloss (brunnera)
  • Japanese barberry (berberis)
  • Mountain or Alpine currant (ribes)
  • Magnolia (magnolia X soulangeana)
  • Spiraea
  • Pieris
  • Tulips
  • Bluebells (hyacinthoides non-scripta)
  • Viburnum

 Jobs for April:

  • Mow the lawn lowering the blade setting each fresh cut.
  • Start fixing patches on the lawn using seeding soil and new grass seed.
  • You can start feeding the lawn if the weather is warming nicely, if still cold maybe hold off until late April.
  • Sow hardy annuals outside.
  • Plant laurel or other evergreen hedges.
  • As daffodils finish flowering, remove seed heads but leave foliage for four to six weeks before cutting away. You can always bunch fold and tie the foliage to neaten up borders.
  • Climbing plants will now need to be tied in and trained.
  • Ericaceous plants that need an acid soil will start flowering and putting on their seasonal show this month, so boost their health by feeding them with an ericaceous feed.
  • If you haven’t in March, then now is the last month to prune your Hydrangeas. Remove frost protection from tree ferns (dicksonia antarctica)
  • Sow vegetable seeds. If you have a cold frame or greenhouse that is heated and frost-free, then sow tomatoes.
  • Plant out first and second early seed potatoes.
  • Towards the end of the month, you can consider planting out the dahlia tubers you have been hardening off in the greenhouse.
Matt Peck Gates Gardening Tips Blog April 2024
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