River Wissey Lovell Fuller

April Gardening Tips

May 2014

April is an exciting and busy month to be a gardener, we’ve had an exceptionally mild start to 2014, and plants are already springing into life. As I write this article daffodils have been in bud and flower for a couple of weeks and there’s blossom on some trees. However the weather can still be unpredictable. Beware of frosts in April, and keep vulnerable plants and new shoots protected at night if a frost is forecast.

April is the optimum month for tackling problems with lawns. This winter the rain and damp weather has caused many of our lawns to become invaded by moss. There are two ways in which to remove moss, either manually by scarifying (raking) or chemical. Chemical moss killers generally contain sulphate of iron (Ferrous sulphate) which cause the moss to blacken within couple of weeks. Moss killers combined with fertilisers (and/ or selective weed killers) is beneficial to improving lawn quality. Over-application of lawn moss killers can blacken grass, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions with care. A persistent problem with moss can suggest a problem with soil condition. On established lawns poor vigour, acidic soil conditions, a lack of feed, insufficient aeration, poor drainage, shade, close mowing and general wear are likely to blame. Killing and removing moss is just the start, to remain moss-free, the vigour of the grass must be improved and any other issues must be addressed. If moss remains a problem after treatment, such as under trees or in a poorly-drained site, consider over-seeding using shady lawn seed which contains a mix of fine bladed grasses, such as fescues and bents, that will grow in dry areas that receive little sunlight.

As well as applying treatments, now is a good time to level out lawns using top soil and also to neaten edges of the lawn.  In compacted areas use a fork to pierce holes to aerate the soil, and finally, raise the blade of your lawn mower to avoid cutting the grass too short.  Once all weeds and moss have died fill any gaps with lawn seed, overlapping the edges so the lawn doesn’t look like a colourful tapestry of different greens!  Lawn treatments can look quite severe, but always remember it will look worse now, to ultimately look better throughout summer. Regular maintenance is the best way to approach a lawn, and will reduce the need for remedial action.

As well as tackling your lawn here’s my top 10 jobs for April:

  1. Protect fruit blossom from late frosts

  2. Tie climbing plants, such as rambling roses, into their supports.

  3. Start to feed citrus plants

  4. Increase the water given to houseplants

  5. Prune fig trees

  6. Divide bamboos and grasses

  7. Sow seeds of runner beans, sweetcorn, marrows, courgettes, squashes and climbing beans indoors in 3 inch pots full of seed compost.

  8. Pinch out the growing tips of bedding plants such as fuchsias.

  9. Trim faded flowers of winter flowering heathers.

  10. Treat timber fences, trellis and posts with preservative.

Whatever April brings I hope you get a chance to step out into the sunshine and enjoy the season as you tackle this months gardening jobs.

Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons)  P&RGarden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon ,

01842 814800   www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

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