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Garden Maintenance: APRIL

Top jobs for April

1.Keep weeds under control.
2.Tie in climbing and rambling roses
3.Sow hardy annuals and herb seeds
4.Start to feed citrus plants.
5.Increase the water given to houseplants
6.Feed hungry shrubs and roses
7.Sow new lawns or repair bare patches
8.Prune fig trees
9.Divide bamboos and waterlilies
10. Have you cut your grass yet? Cutting early will encourage new, healthier growth.

Lawn Care

- Mow lawns - the aim is to maintain a constant height; not necessarily short! Do what is best for your lawn.
- 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 but beware that moss killer can stain clothes.
- April is the best month to apply lawn weedkillers as the weeds are inactive growth.

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 green shoots on hardy variegated evergreens that are reverting to a single colour.
- Take cuttings of conifers for propagation of your favourites.

Flowers

- 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.

Greenhouse 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.

Ponds

- 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.

Soft Landscaping

- Remove algae from paths using a brush with stiff bristles or a pressure washer.
- If the weather is dry paint wooden fences, sheds etc with a wood preservative. Ensure that you use only new chemicals as some older brands are now illegal.
- Think about any soft landscaping you would like done now to enjoy during the summer; decking for example.

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