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Gardening in April
April is the height of spring and there are plenty of jobs to do in the garden. But be aware of changeable weather and check weather forecasts. Cold nights, frosts and general low temperatures are all possibilities, which can adversely affect young, new growth, bedding and young vegetable plants. And, of course, there’s always the chance of April showers – or even torrential downpours!
What to plant and do in April?
There really is so much to do and plant in April. It’s a busy, fun and very rewarding month for gardening. So whether you want to know what fruit, vegetables or flowers to plant in April, simply choose a category below and discover our essential planting tips.
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What Vegetables to plant in April
April is a busy and productive month in your vegetable garden. Whatever your culinary tastes or skill level, there are plenty of vegetables to plant in April.
Sow indoors in pots with warmth (windowsill, greenhouse or conservatory will all work well):
- Beans (for example runner beans or French beans)
- Globe artichokes
Sow outside directly into well-prepared soil (containers, beds and borders will all work, whether in a garden or on a balcony):
- Brussels Sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Summer cauliflower
You should also chit and plant out second early potatoes at the beginning of the month to mid-April, whilst doing the same for maincrop potatoes from mid-April onwards.
What Vegetables to harvest in April
If you already have crops growing, or if you’re just interested to know what’s in season, the vegetables usually ready to harvest in April are:
- Purple sprouting broccoli
- Asparagus (when the spears are no more than 18cm tall)
- Spring onion
- Spring cauliflowers & cabbages
- Lettuce & rocket
Vegetable plant maintenance in April
- As the weather can be still a little on the cold side, protect any early outdoor sowings with horticultural fleece or polythene. Do this until you’re sure temperatures will stay above around 5-7°C at night.
- Support any pea plants – choose from sticks, mesh, green support or wire netting.
- Begin preparing runner bean supports for planting out in June.
- Try to thin out rows of seedlings where possible and as soon as they are big enough to be handled.
- Keep any carrots covered with a very fine mesh or a horticultural fleece. Make sure the edges are buried to keep out carrot root fly.
- Be aware of slugs and snails. Treat them if you’re already seeing the damage and put preventative measures in place before they can attack.
What Fruit to plant in April
A lot of fruit tends to ripen nearer the autumn, but April is a great time of year to plant young fruit trees and bushes in time for the harvesting season.
- Raspberry canes
- Blackberry canes
April is also an ideal time of year to pot grow fruit trees and bushes including apples and pears.
Plant in the greenhouse or indoors:
- Melon seeds
- Strawberry seeds
Fruit plant maintenance in April
- Look after your fruit trees growing in pots by liquid feeding them with a balanced feed every two weeks.
- Cover any fruit blossoms with a horticultural fleece on cold nights to protect them from late frosts. Do this until you’re sure temperatures will stay above around 5-7°C at night.
- Mulch fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost.
- If you’re growing any citrus plants in the greenhouse, mist or damp them down when the flowering begins. You should try to maintain a minimum temperature of 14°
- Towards the end of the month, thin peach and apricot fruitlets – the trees will likely grow more than they can handle.
- Allow covered strawberries time in the sun to be ventilated.
- If you planted strawberries in September and they are in their first year, make sure that you de-blossom them to help with their initial establishment.
- Look for apple and pear scab and treat accordingly.
- Be aware of the potential for powdery mildew on grapes, peaches and gooseberries.
- Keep your eye out for red spider mite and aphids on your strawberries in the greenhouse.
Putting in a lawn in April
April is the ideal time to put in a new lawn, whether from turf or grass seed. The promise of warmer temperatures to come means that seed will quickly germinate. Regular April showers will also do their bit for lawn growth.
Lawn maintenance in April
April is a warmer and a wetter month. Whilst this will aid the growth of your lawn, it can sometimes make mowing difficult.
April is the month for lawn maintenance and lawn renovation after winter. It’s an opportunity that is best not to miss.
Mowing your lawn in April
- Try and mow the lawn in the afternoon to give it some time to dry from any overnight dew.
- Cut the grass whenever it is growing. This will likely be weekly or even more frequently as the weather warms up.
- Keep it at the same height all throughout spring if you can. For most lawns this should be about 2.5-4cm (1-1.5in) high. If your lawn takes a lot of wear and tear, raise the height to 5cm (2in). Mow at a height of 7.5cm (3in) for very shaded areas. If you mow too low you may weaken the lawn and allow weeds and moss to establish.
- As the grass is a little wetter and softer, be careful as you turn the mower and make sure you thoroughly clean it to remove any wet grass that has stuck underneath.
- Trim lawn edges after every mowing to keep them looking crisp and tidy.
Feeding your lawn in April
- April is the time to get your spring lawn feed into your grass as the demands of winter will have taken their toll. Giving your lawn a good feed in spring is crucial for a healthy lawn throughout the rest of the year.
- Use a granular feed that supplies a regular amount of nutrients over several weeks for the best results. Apply this evenly over the lawn at the recommended rate using a lawn spreader.
April lawn care
- Repair damaged and bare areas with fresh grass seed or a lawn patch repair product.
- Moss is a crucial lawn problem to tackle in April. Choose a moss killer containing iron sulphate and apply to your lawn. Allow the moss to blacken – this should take two to three weeks – before raking to remove it.
- If the moss continues, repeat the process every three to four weeks.
- Treat lawn weeks quickly and effectively using a lawn weedkiller
- April is also a good time for light lawn scarifying, whilst the autumn is better for more heavy duty scarifying. Use a spring-tine rake to remove dead grass, thatch and other debris that will prevent healthy grass growth.
- Lawn aeration in April is essential. This is when the soil is mostly likely to be naturally moist and it is suitable for the holes to be set effectively. The grass also has an opportunity to heal properly. Use a garden fork or hollow-tined aerator. This will improve drainage and help reduce waterlogging problems.
- Once you’ve aerated your lawn, apply fertiliser and top dressing. This will give your grass the extra ingredients it needs to thrive and become a thick green lawn.
- If the ground is relatively firm, lawn rolling will help consolidate any areas raised by worms and frost. If the ground is too soft, wait until May.
Flowers & Bulbs
What flowers & bulbs to plant in April
April is the perfect time to buy and plant summer-flowering bulbs, like:
Sow hardy annuals outdoors in April, including:
Sow the following in the greenhouse or indoors:
- Petunia seeds
Although British wildflowers can be grown all year round, sowing in April will often deliver the best results. Remember to check your chosen wildflower mix as occasionally mixes will contain wildflower species that are more suited to sowing at another time of year.
What flowers to prune in April
In April, you should deadhead spring-flowering bulbs when the flowers fade. These include:
- Winter pansies
When you deadhead, make sure that only the flowerhead is removed. You can do this by simply pinching out between your finger and thumb. Alternatively, a quick snip with secateurs is always effective. Once you’ve finished deadheading, it’s important to give the flowers a liquid feed.
- Prune penstemons in late April (once we’ve seen the back of any winter weather), or early May. Once new shoots appear at the base, cut back the old shoots to the base. If there are no new shoots, simply cut just above the lowest set of leaves.
Flower maintenance in April
- To give peonies the best chance of growing to their fullest, put a support in place before they get too tall. This will help the stems to grow and for the flowerheads to stand tall. They will also be much stronger for it.
- Divide primroses once they have finished flowering.
- Take basal stem cuttings from perennials, such as delphiniums and lupins.
With cold nights still lingering well into the month, protect any tender flowers with a horticultural fleece overnight.
Trees & Shrubs
What trees & shrubs to plant in April
Earlier in the month, and in cooler areas of the garden, you will still be able to plant and move evergreen trees and shrubs. These could include:
What trees & shrubs to prune in April
As we reach the end of April, pruning trees and shrubs becomes a regular and ongoing job in the garden.
- Clip evergreen and conifer hedges now as they start to show signs of growth.
- Cut back any hedges that are becoming top heavy, too tall or bare at the base.
- Cut back smoke bush and elders to retain their bright young foliage.
- Allow spring-flowering shrubs including forsythia and Chaenomeles to finish flowering before pruning.
- Lightly cut back lavenders once any cold weather is gone.
- Tie honeysuckle and clematis regularly, twining them round their supports.
- Prune hardy fuchsias once they come into bud. Remove dead, weak or crowded branches.
- Pinch out the tips of fuchsias to encourage growth in summer.
Trees & Shrubs maintenance in April
- Mulch the soil around trees and shrubs with a 5-7.5cm (2-3in) thick mulch.
- Tie in the shoots of climbers as they grow, spreading them out evenly over their support.
- Protect the bark of newly planted trees by using rabbit guards.
- Check the previous year’s hardwood cuttings. They may need planting or potting.
- Look out for damage on deciduous trees, including bacterial canker.
- Check for signs of blight on box and holly trees.